Oct 172014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/04/08MANILA976.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA976
2008-04-24 10:40
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO6761
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0976/01 1151040
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 241040Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0471
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000976

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/RSP, EAP/MTS, EUR, INR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2018
TAGS: KCRM PGOV PHUM PREL PTER EU RP
SUBJECT: EU HEIGHTENS ENGAGEMENT IN PEACE PROCESS, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND ANTI-CORRUPTION

REF: A. MANILA 721 (EAP DAS HIGHLIGHTS U.S. SUPPORT FOR
DEMOCRACY)
¶B. MANILA 455 (AMBASSADOR URGES MILF CHIEF TO
EMBRACE PEACE)
¶C. MANILA 238 (PRESIDENT ARROYO REVISES MILF PEACE
PROPOSAL)
¶D. 07 MANILA 2198 (EU EXAMINES ASSISTANCE AGAINST
UNLAWFUL KILLINGS)

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Paul W. Jones, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The April 14 visit of ten European Union
(EU) ambassadors to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in
Central Mindanao underscored the EU’s interest in the peace
process. At the same time, recent EU assistance to improve
governance, particularly in resolving cases of extrajudicial
killings and fighting corruption, tracks closely with U.S.
efforts on these critical issues. We encourage the EU’s
involvement on both issues. While the EU’s political impact
and level of resources is small compared the U.S., we believe
the EU can contribute more and we work with EU countries
toward that end. END SUMMARY.

——————————–
EU MAKES STRONGER PUSH FOR PEACE
——————————–

¶2. (C) Ten ambassadors from the European Union traveled
April 14 to Cotabato City for meetings with Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar,
Cotabato City Mayor (and new Moro National Liberation Front
Chairman) Muslimin Sema, and Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao (ARMM) officials. In addition to the EU Ambassador
to the Philippines Alistair MacDonald, the delegation
included the ambassadors to the Philippines from Austria,
Belgium, Finland, France, Netherlands, Romania, Spain,
Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Prior to the ambassadors’
trip, UK Ambassador Peter Beckingham, a key EU voice in the
Philippines, privately told Ambassador Kenney that he hoped
the meetings would allow for greater EU engagement in the
peace process.

¶3. (C) The UK Ambassador voiced the hope that the
senior-level visit would signal to both the government and
the MILF the seriousness of the international community’s
desire for peace in Mindanao — just as U.S., EU, and UN
pressure on extrajudicial killings seems to have had a
positive impact. Ambassador Kenney encouraged him to use the
opportunity to urge the MILF to cooperate more fully with the
Philippine government and to cease giving safehaven to
suspected terrorists, which he readily agreed would be useful
points to drive home. The level at which the EU delegation
was received was disappointing, however. Neither the
Chairman of the MILF nor the Regional Governor appeared as
promised, the UK Ambassador told Charge after the visit.

¶4. (C) During the April 14 meeting with MILF Vice Chairman
Jaafar and other MILF leaders, the EU ambassadors followed
through on emphasizing the importance of the MILF not
providing safe haven for terrorists in territory under MILF
control. The EU ambassadors also urged the MILF to cooperate
more fully with the Philippine government on a peace
agreement and, as a signal of the EU’s seriousness, French
Ambassador Gerard Chesnel reiterated the EU’s pledge of
assistance (12 million Euros) for conflict-affected areas
once a final peace agreement is signed.

¶5. (C) The MILF Vice Chairman told the ambassadors that
although there was agreement on territorial and natural
resource issues, problems remained with the governance
aspects of an agreement. He also expressed concern that
administration offers to engage independent legal counsel
were merely a stalling tactic. The MILF Vice Chairman
described division within MILF ranks between those committed
to the peace process and some who have lost confidence in
achieving a comprehensive and permanent agreement. He feared
that the Philippine Congress could further water down the
administration’s positions on governance as well.

¶6. (C) Upon his return to Manila, UK Ambassador Beckingham
described to Charge his impressions of the visit and the EU
ambassadors’ concerns that the peace talks may be stalled.
The UK Ambassador was invited to an additional meeting with
two of the primary MILF peace negotiators, Mohagher Iqbal and
Datu Michael Mastura, who underscored their fears that
Malaysia might pull out of the International Monitoring Team
absent further progress in the negotiations. Iqbal and
Mastura also asked the UK Ambassador for advice on reaching

MANILA 00000976 002 OF 002

out to the key players in the peace process in Northern
Ireland. The UK Ambassador was unsure whether involving
those from the Northern Ireland peace process at this stage
of the negotiation would be an inspiration or a distraction.

——————————————— —
INTENSIFYING PRESSURE ON EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS
——————————————— —

¶7. (SBU) In addition to increased engagement in the peace
process, the EU is also strengthening its human rights and
rule of law assistance to the Philippines. The EU conducted
a Needs Assessment Mission in June 2007 to identify specific
areas where the EU could support Philippine efforts to combat
extrajudicial killings (ref D). As a result of that
assessment, EU Ambassador Alistair MacDonald recently
announced an 18-month assistance project to strengthen human
rights protections and to combat extrajudicial killings. The
project, called the EU Justice Assistance Mission (EUJAM), is
scheduled to begin in September. According to the EU
Ambassador, EUJAM will focus on three areas: technical
assistance to strengthen the criminal justice system,
including forensic and investigative capabilities, as well as
prosecutorial functions; assistance and support to human
rights civil society groups, including independent government
bodies such as the Commission on Human Rights and the Office
of the Ombudsman; and human rights awareness training for
police and military officers.

¶8. (SBU) The EU will host a stakeholders’ meeting in May to
seek input and agreement on the specific activities of EUJAM,
before seeking the final approval on the project from
Brussels. A decision on the financial allocation for EUJAM
will not be made until that approval, but the EU Ambassador
believes two million Euros would likely support the project.
The UK is similarly focusing additional assistance on human
rights. In late 2007, the UK declared the Philippines a
priority country in the Human Rights Programme of the UK’s
Global Opportunities Fund, but specific projects will not be
selected until late 2008.

————————————
JOINING THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
————————————

¶9. (U) The EU also delivered a strong message on corruption
and rule of law at the 4th annual Philippine Development
Forum. The conference brought together stakeholders in the
country’s development agenda to facilitate substantive policy
dialogue. USAID called for continued efforts to address
corruption, rule of law (including extrajudicial killings),
adequacy of health and educational services, and natural
resources management. EU representatives emphasized the need
to strengthen social services targeted at the poor and to
improve efforts combating graft in public procurement.
French Ambassador Chesnel, who delivered the EU statement,
told the press that “if there is widespread corruption, it
doesn’t give the different areas (of the Philippines) the
chance to develop further,” and that efforts to combat
corruption needed to be stepped up.

——-
COMMENT
——-

¶10. (C) We have encouraged the EU to take practical steps on
key issues and complement U.S. objectives in the Philippines.
The EU delegation’s visit to the MILF leadership parallels
recent visits by the Ambassador and DCM and demonstrates to
the Philippine government and public that an increasingly
broad international community supports peace, even if the EU
visit did not garner widespread political or public
attention. While ostensibly a “fact-finding” mission, the EU
delegation’s size and development-assistance offers signal an
increased willingness to encourage all sides to agree to a
peace plan. We will continue to encourage the EU to use its
law enforcement assistance on high impact projects that
complement USG programs.

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.gov/
JONES

   

 

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