Oct 172014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/08/09MANILA1712.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1712
2009-08-12 10:31
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO0442
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1712/01 2241031
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 121031Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4871
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001712

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL RP BM KN
SUBJECT: FOREIGN SECRETARY ROMULO ON OVAL OFFICE, BURMA, DPRK, PEACE PROCESS

REF: A. STATE 82592
¶B. STATE 83598

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

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In a private August 12 breakfast meeting
with the Ambassador, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto
Romulo expressed heartfelt appreciation for the warm
reception President Arroyo’s party received at the Oval
Office on July 30, and for the highly successful
cabinet-level meetings that had transpired during Philippine
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Washington visit. He
outlined Philippine outrage over the guilty verdict rendered
in the case of detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi, while frankly admitting his frustration in searching
for a means to influence the behavior of the ruling Burmese
junta. Romulo was pleased that former President Clinton had
secured the release of U.S. journalists detained in North
Korea, but he clearly understood the private humanitarian
nature of Clinton’s mission, and the need to maintain
pressure on the DPRK with regard to its nuclear ambitions.
The Ambassador and Foreign Secretary discussed their shared
optimism that meaningful peace negotiations appear to be back
on track between the government and separatist Muslim rebels,
after a year of violence that has resulted in significant
loss of life and displaced tens of thousands from their homes
and livelihoods. END SUMMARY.

Oval Office Visit a Smashing Success
————————————

¶2. (C) The Foreign Secretary was effusive in his praise of
President Obama, noting the President’s courteous and genuine
manner in welcoming President Arroyo and her party to the
White House July 30. Romulo was especially impressed with
Obama’s mastery of the issues and his willingness to listen.
The Foreign Secretary remarked that in discussions among
themselves following the Oval Office meeting, all had
commented on the graciousness of their reception, with more
than one affirming that Obama had made them feel “like the
most important nation in the world.” Foreign Secretary
Romulo added that all had found the associated Cabinet-level
meetings while in Washington extremely useful. He then began
to discuss the Philippines’ role in chairing the
Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference to be held in
New York next May; this will be reported septel.

Outrage Over Burmese Verdict
—————————-

¶3. (C) The conversation then turned to the subject of the
Burmese court’s August 11 guilty verdict for detained
pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi (reftel B). Romulo
asserted that ASEAN must do more to influence the Burmese
regime, notwithstanding the lack of public outrage on the
part of many ASEAN members such as Singapore — whose
lethargy he ascribed to their extensive interaction with
Burmese junta members seeking banking and health care
services. Romulo expressed frustration at the larger
question of how to reach the Burmese regime, which he
characterized as seemingly immune to international pressure.
He added that the upcoming August 14 visit to the Philippines
of the Thai prime minister might offer an opportunity for
useful discussions on Burma.

Congratulations on Clinton’s North Korea Feat
———————————————

¶4. (C) The Foreign Secretary recounted his pleasure at
former President Bill Clinton’s success in securing the
August 5 release of two American journalists who had been
held prisoner in North Korea since March. The Ambassador
underscored the private humanitarian nature of President
Clinton’s mission, and emphasized that it was not connected
with the United States’ ongoing efforts to rein in North
Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its development of
long-range ballistic missiles (reftel A). While Romulo
clearly understood the distinction, he offered the view that
former President Clinton’s gesture of engagement with North
Korean Premier Kim Jong Il might nonetheless prove useful in
influencing the DPRK’s return to Six-Party Talks.

Peace Process Back on Track
—————————

¶5. (C) The Ambassador and Foreign Minister discussed renewed
peace efforts by the Arroyo administration and the
Muslim-separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

MANILA 00001712 002 OF 002

Romulo said that “momentum is on our side,” and he observed
that Malaysian facilitators finally seemed more focused now,
under that country’s new leadership. The Ambassador offered
assurances that the U.S. would remain closely engaged, and
underscored American wishes to be helpful to the process in
any way possible. Foreign Secretary Romulo thanked the
Ambassador for U.S. development assistance and military
capacity-building in the southern Philippines, and expressed
the hope that when a final peace deal was closer to fruition,
the United States might consider an “arms-to-farms” program
for demobilized combatants, as had been done after the 1996
peace accord with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
The Ambassador assured the Secretary that the U.S. would look
very carefully at such a program and do all it could to
support a comprehensive peace deal.
KENNEY

   

 

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