Oct 262014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/12/07MANILA3964.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA3964
2007-12-18 09:02
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO4235
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHPB
DE RUEHML #3964/01 3520902
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 180902Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9216
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM IMMEDIATE
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0251
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003964

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2017
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL RP BM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR ENGAGES PHILIPPINE FOREIGN SECRETARY ON BURMA, MILF PEACE TALKS, AND U.S. RELATIONSHIP

REF: MANILA 3875 (DEMARCHE: PHILIPPINES TO CONSIDER A

STRONGER STAND ON BURMA)

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In a December 17 private breakfast, the
Ambassador and Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo
discussed Burma, assessed the peace process in Mindanao, and
explored opportunities to strengthen U.S.-Philippine ties.
Romulo, who was frank and relaxed, inquired about the
prospects of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice in 2008. He expressed hope that President Arroyo would
be able to visit President Bush’s Texas ranch, either with
ASEAN countries or under a different umbrella. Regarding the
peace process in Mindanao, Romulo characterized recent
difficulties as “solvable.” On Burma, Romulo reiterated
President Arroyo’s statements that the Philippines could
reject the ASEAN Charter if the Burmese regime did not
release Aung San Suu Kyi and begin democratic reform. END
SUMMARY.

BURMA REMAINS KEY ISSUE
———————–

¶2. (C) In Romulo’s estimation, the Philippine Senate may
refuse to ratify the Charter of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) if Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) is not
released and the Junta does not adopt democratic reforms.
The assessment matched President Arroyo’s public statements
that ASSK’s release would be the “number one” benchmark in
deciding whether to ratify the ASEAN Charter. Romulo
expressed the hope that perhaps a new Thai government would
prompt ASEAN to place more pressure on the Burmese regime to
democratize. He noted that during President Arroyo’s recent
trip to Europe, she was widely praised for her stance on
Burma. The Ambassador thanked Romulo for the Philippine
government’s courageous policy on Burma and reminded Romulo
about a UN Burma human rights resolution scheduled for a
plenary vote this month. She suggested the Philippines could
send a strong and consistent message if it broke from
practice and voted in favor of the Burma resolution (reftel).
Romulo was amenable to the idea and said he would raise it
with others.

U.S.-PHILIPPINE VISITS
———————-

¶3. (C) Romulo reminded the Ambassador that the Philippines
would be delighted to send a delegation to the President’s
ranch in Crawford, Texas, for an ASEAN meeting. The
Ambassador noted that the Burmese Junta’s brutal actions made
it extremely difficult to consider hosting all the ASEAN
members, and that some ASEAN members might not support an
ASEAN meeting from which Burma was excluded. Romulo then
suggested the possibility of the U.S. inviting the
Philippines in a different context, such as with key members
of the broader ASEAN Regional Forum. Similarly, Romulo added
that the Philippine government would welcome a visit by
Secretary Rice in 2008. Romulo said that he had proposed the

SIPDIS
idea to the Secretary when they last spoke and she had
expressed interest. The Ambassador noted the Secretary’s
demanding travel schedule but agreed to stay in touch as her
travel plans developed in 2008.

EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS
———————-

¶4. (C) The Ambassador noted the significant drop in reported
cases of extrajudicial killings reported in 2007 but observed
that more had to be done. Romulo acknowledged that the
Philippines needed to make progress in prosecuting cases of
extrajudicial killings. Similarly, Romulo admitted that
corruption was a widespread problem in the Philippines.
However, he explained that such problems were just as common
in neighboring countries but received more attention from the
international community here because the Philippines had a
free, English-speaking press. Romulo recognized that these
factors would not change and the Philippines would continue
to be held to a high standard by the international community.

MILF-GOVERNMENT PEACE TALKS
—————————

¶5. (C) Romulo remained sanguine about the Philippine
government’s peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF), despite recent difficulties in peace talks in
Kuala Lumpur. Romulo said that Rodolfo Garcia, Chairman of

MANILA 00003964 002 OF 002

the Peace Panel, shared his view that the aborted
negotiations would eventually resume and that difficult
issues were unfortunate, but natural. The Ambassador praised
recent movement in the process but observed that the parties
had to find ways to narrow the gaps. She expressed hope that
2008 would be a key year in moving the process forward.

SHIP VISITS
———–

¶6. (C) Romulo thanked the Ambassador for the many successful
visits of U.S. naval ships to the Philippines. He hoped the
visits would continue apace and looked forward to the 2008
visit of the USNS Mercy, though he asked whether a U.S.
aircraft carrier could visit the Philippines as he would love
the chance to get on board. The Ambassador told Romulo our
ship visit program was a testament to U.S. commitment to the
Philippines and underscored the strength of our bilateral
relationship.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.
KENNEY

   

 

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