Oct 042014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2002/11/02VATICAN5625.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
02VATICAN5625
2002-11-19 14:51
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Vatican

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 005625

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (MENUTTI); EB/TPP (CEKUTA); AF/S
ROME PASS FODAG

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECON EAID EAGR SENV SOCI ZA RP ECON EAID EAGR SENV SOCI ZA RP VT VTPREL
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON’S MEETING ON BIOTECH WITH HOLY SEE PM EQUIVALENT LEONARDO SANDRI
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 VATICA 05625 01 OF 02 191610Z

¶1. (U) SUMMARY: AMBASSADOR CALLED ON HOLY SEE DEPUTY
PRIME MINISTER EQUIVALENT LEONARDO SANDRI NOVEMBER 16 TO
EXPRESS U.S. CONCERN OVER THE LACK OF HOLY SEE
INVOLVEMENT REGARDING THE GROWING THREAT OF HUNGER AND
STARVATION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA AND, SPECIFICALLY, THE
ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT’S REJECTION OF U.S. FOOD ASSISTANCE
BECAUSE OF ITS BIO-TECH CONTENT. AFTER HEARING THE
DETAILS OF THE SITUATION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA, AND IN
RESPONSE TO THE AMBASSADORS’ FORCEFUL PLEA FOR THE HOLY
SEE TO STEP FORWARD IN RESPONSE TO THIS CLEAR MORAL
ISSUE, SANDRI SAID HE WOULD DISCUSS THE ISSUE WITH PRIME
MINISTER EQUIVALENT SODANO AND FOREIGN MINISTER TAURAN
AND GET BACK TO THE AMBASSADOR THIS WEEK WITH A RESPONSE.
TO INCREASE THE PRESSURE ON THE HOLY SEE, THE AMBASSADOR
ALSO PUBLISHED AN OP-ED IN ITALY’S LARGEST CATHOLIC DAILY
NEWSPAPER, AVVENIRE, OUTLINING THE MORAL DIMENSIONS OF
THE ISSUE AND URGING THE WORLD COMMUNITY TO FEED THE
HUNGRY FOOD RATHER THAN FEAR.
¶2. (U) IN A NOVEMBER 16 MEETING WITH DEPUTY PRIME
MINISTER EQUIVALENT ARCHBISHOP LEONARDO SANDRI,
AMBASSADOR OUTLINED U.S. CONCERNS OVER THE MOUNTING FOOD
CRISIS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA AND THE BAFFLING DECISION OF
THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT TO REJECT U.S. FOOD ASSISTANCE OUT
UNJUSTIFIED FEARS OF BIOTECH FOODS. THE AMBASSADOR
POINTED OUT THAT, IN THE FACE OF THE GRAVE HUMANITARIAN
SITUATION IT CURRENTLY FACES, THE GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBIA
HAD ASKED THAT THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM REMOVE U.S. MAIZE
FROM THE COUNTRY EVEN THOUGH MILLING THE GRAIN WOULD
COMPLETELY ADDRESS THE CONCERNS THEY HAVE PUBLICLY CITED
FOR NOT ACCEPTING THE GRAIN. THE AMBASSADOR POINTED OUT
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 03 VATICA 05625 01 OF 02 191610Z
THE UNCONSTRUCTIVE, POTENTIALLY LIFE-THREATENING ROLE
PLAYED BY THE JESUIT CENTER FOR THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION IN
ZAMBIA, WHICH HAD ENCOURAGED THE GOVERNMENT TO REJECT
BIOTECH FOODS, AND ALSO NOTED THAT ZAMBIA’S CATHOLIC
BISHOPS IN ZAMBIA HAVE BEEN LARGELY SILENT IN THE FACE OF
THIS CRISIS. WITH LIVES AT RISK, THE AMBASSADOR
EMPHASIZED, THE U.S. BELIEVED THE HOLY SHOULD FOLLOW THE
UN, THE WHO, AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION IN ISSUING
PUBLIC STATEMENTS THAT ACKNOWLEDGE THE SAFETY FOR HUMAN
CONSUMPTION OF THE U.S. MAIZE AND THE IMPORTANCE OF
FEEDING THE HUNGRY, ADDING THAT THE HOLY SEE’S STRONG
MORAL VOICE ON THIS ISSUE COULD POTENTIALLY HELP SAVE
THOUSANDS OF LIVES.
¶3. (U) IN RESPONSE, SANDRI ASKED IF THE U.S. WAS
PROVIDING THE FOOD FREE OR SELLING THE FOOD. THE
AMBASSADOR SAID IT WAS PROVIDED TO THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM
FREE OF CHARGE, ADDING THAT WE PROVIDE NEARLY 70 PERCENT
OF THE FOOD TO THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM FOR SOUTHERN
AFRICA. WITH THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN SOUTHERN
AFRICA WORSENING AND DEMANDS ON DONORS INCREASING,
DECISIONS TO WITHHOLD U.S.-SUPPLIED FOOD RELIEF WOULD
HAVE A POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING EFFECT, THE AMBASSADOR
NOTED.

¶4. (SBU) COMPARING THE HOLY SEE’S AND SOUTHERN AFRICAN
BISHOPS SILENCE WITH THE CLEAR STATEMENTS OF OTHER
ORGANIZATIONS AND COUNTRIES, THE AMBASSADOR POINTED OUT
THAT “EVEN GREENPEACE HAD CAVED IN AND SAID, IN LIGHT OF
THE CIRCUMSTANCES WITH PEOPLE STARVING THEY COULD NO
LONGER SUSTAIN THEIR POSITION AGAINST FEEDING PEOPLE
BIOTECH FOODS.” WITH EVEN GREENPEACE SHOWING THEIR
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 04 VATICA 05625 01 OF 02 191610Z
COMPASSION IN THIS SITUATION, THE AMBASSADOR ASKED,
“WHERE IS THE CHURCH”?

¶5. (SBU) SANDRI RESPONDED BY ASSERTING THAT THE EUROPEAN
UNION WAS AGAINST BIOTECH FOODS AND THAT WAS
PROBLEMATICAL FOR THE HOLY SEE. THE AMBASSADOR CLARIFIED
THAT THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAD APPROVED FOR
COMMERCIALIZATION A NUMBER OF GM PRODUCTS, AND NOTED THAT
OBJECTIONS RELATED MORE TO HOW TO STRUCTURE
COMMERCIALIZATION RATHER THAN CONCERN OVER THE SAFETY OF
BIOTECH FOODS. HE ALSO POINTED OUT THAT THE HOLY SEE’S
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORS, THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCE,
HAVE TOLD US THEY FOUND NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS FOOD, AND
HAVE ISSUED REPORTS TO THAT EFFECT. IN CLOSING, THE
AMBASSADOR SAID HE COULD NOT BELIEVE THAT THE POPE, WITH
HIS EMPHASIS ON THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE AND HIS
OPPOSITION TO EUTHANASIA AND ABORTION, KNOWS OF THIS
SERIOUS SITUATION AND IS NOT EQUALLY OPPOSED TO

UNCLASSIFIED

UNCLASSIFIED PTQ2124

PAGE 01 VATICA 05625 02 OF 02 191610Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CEA-01 CIAE-00
COME-00 CTME-00 DINT-00 DODE-00 DOEE-00 ITCE-00 DOTE-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EAP-00 EB-00 ED-01 EXME-00 E-00
FAAE-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 FDRE-01 VC-00 FRB-00 HHS-01
H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 ITC-01 LAB-01 L-00
VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 NSF-01 OES-00 OIC-02
OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PER-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00
P-00 SCT-00 SP-00 SSO-00 STR-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00
USIE-00 EPAE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-02 G-00
NFAT-00 SAS-00 /015W
——————0B3185 191610Z /38
O 191451Z NOV 02
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO AMEMBASSY ROME
AMEMBASSY LONDON
USEU BRUSSELS
AMEMBASSY LUSAKA
AMEMBASSY HARARE
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
AMEMBASSY LUANDA
AMEMBASSY LILONGWE
AMEMBASSY MANILA

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 VATICAN 005625

SIPDIS

DEPT. FOR EUR/WE (MENUTTI); EB/TPP (CEKUTA); AF/S
ROME PASS FODAG

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECON EAID EAGR SENV SOCI ZA RP ECON EAID EAGR SENV SOCI ZA RP VT VTPREL
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR NICHOLSON’S MEETING ON BIOTECH WITH
HOLY SEE PM EQUIVALENT LEONARDO SANDRI
UNCLASSIFIED

PAGE 02 VATICA 05625 02 OF 02 191610Z

STARVATION.
¶6. (U) AT THIS POINT, SANDRI AGREED TO CONFER WITH PRIME
MINISTER EQUIVALENT SODANO AND FM TAURAN, AND
SUBSEQUENTLY WITH THE PAPAL NUNCIO IN ZAMBIA THIS WEEK.
HE PLEDGED TO GET BACK TO THE AMBASSADOR AFTER THESE
CONSULTATIONS.
¶7. (SBU) THE AMBASSADOR DEFINITELY GOT SANDRI’S
ATTENTION. HE VISIBLY WINCED WHEN HE POINTED OUT THE
CONTRAST BETWEEN GREENPEACE AND THE HOLY SEE.
NICHOLSON

UNCLASSIFIED

>

2002VATICA05625 – Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

   

 

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