Oct 172014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/09/09MANILA1943.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1943
2009-09-14 11:38
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO4826
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1943/01 2571138
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 141138Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5163
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 2943
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 0305
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001943

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/14/2019
TAGS: PREL EAID UNGA MARR KNNP LY KN IR RP
SUBJECT: FOREIGN SECRETARY ROMULO ON U.S.-ASEAN SUMMIT, VFA, NONPROLIFERATION TREATY, UNGA

REF: A. A) MANILA 1843
¶B. B) EAP/MTS-EMBASSY MANILA EMAIL
¶C. C) STATE 95073
¶D. D) STATE 82701

MANILA 00001943 001.2 OF 002

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

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In a private September 14 breakfast meeting
with the Ambassador, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto
Romulo pushed for the next U.S.-ASEAN Summit to be held in
the United States, and said that a prominent Filipino Senate
critic would soon raise the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)
again. Romulo confirmed President Arroyo would not attend
the UN General Assembly, citing a busy travel schedule, and
said the Philippines was fully committed to voting for the
Egyptian candidate to lead UNESCO. The Foreign Secretary
said he wanted to engage in detail with senior U.S. officials
on Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) issues, while the Ambassador
stressed the importance of Iran and North Korea as ongoing
U.S. nonproliferation concerns. Romulo said signing a
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact was a
Philippine priority and one of the issues he would like to
discuss with Secretary Clinton and others during a proposed
visit to Washington. Commenting on Palace atmospherics, the
Foreign Secretary said while President Arroyo was
increasingly frustrated with being considered a lame duck,
she is resigned to the fact that her presidency would end
next summer. END SUMMARY.

URGING U.S. VENUE FOR ASEAN SUMMIT
———————————-

¶2. (C) The Ambassador previewed for Secretary Romulo A/S
Campbell’s letter proposing that the U.S.-ASEAN Summit be
held during the upcoming APEC summit in Singapore (ref B).
Romulo was impassioned in his reply, arguing that the Summit
was a critical event in the process of U.S. re-engagement
with ASEAN and that making the event a subset of APEC would
send the wrong message. Holding the Summit in Singapore
would present problems for the non-APEC members of ASEAN,
like Burma, Romulo asserted. It was the U.S. turn to host
and Washington, Chicago, and Honolulu were all good options
in his view. The Ambassador noted the logistical value of
holding the U.S.-ASEAN Summit in Singapore and said that
holding it in the region showed the commitment to Asia.

ANTI-VFA SENATOR WAITING TO POUNCE
———————————-

¶3. (C) Romulo said that Senator Miriam Santiago, head of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee and currently the most
vociferous critic of our bilateral Visiting Forces Agreement,
was having trouble getting cosponsors for her draft
resolution calling on the Arroyo administration to
renegotiate the VFA (ref A). However, she was likely to
deliver a speech in the Senate as soon as September 16 that
would bring negative press attention to the U.S.-Philippine
agreement. The Foreign Secretary posited that Santiago was
only seeking to score political points and that her actions
should be viewed in the context of the May 2010 elections.
He said that he remained a strong supporter of our
military-to-military relationship, but that we should take
steps to reduce somewhat the public profile of our joint
military activities until after the election.

PERIPATETIC PRESIDENT SKIPPING UNGA
———————————–

¶4. (C) The Ambassador expressed surprise that President
Arroyo had suddenly canceled her planned participation in the
UN General Assembly, particularly given the Philippine
government’s key role as chair of the NPT Review Conference
and interest in other key issues, including human rights.
Romulo confirmed that President Arroyo would not attend UNGA,
contending she did not want to be out of the country for an
extended period of time. Her upcoming trip to Turkey, Saudi
Arabia, and the UK. would take at least a week, and adding
New York to the itinerary would mean five additional days of
travel.

DETAILED COOPERATION ON NPT REVCON
———————————-

¶5. (C) Secretary Romulo said that he would lead the

MANILA 00001943 002.2 OF 002

Philippine delegation to UNGA and planned to attend the
Security Council Summit. He was putting a good deal of
energy into NPT issues and looked forward to his working
dinner with U.S. Special Representative Burk, whom he hopes
would provide a month-by-month plan regarding U.S. goals in
the lead-up to the NPT Review Conference. The Ambassador
said that the Review Conference was particularly important in
light of Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and
reviewed for the Foreign Secretary our continued concerns
regarding the two countries’ nuclear ambitions (ref C).
Regarding North Korea, the Ambassador noted that our proposed
bilateral meetings would take place within the context of the
Six-Party Talks.

OIC CANDIDACY OVERSHADOWS POLICY
——————————–

¶6. (C) The Ambassador stressed our views on the upcoming
election for UNESCO Secretary General, noting the strong
field of qualified candidates and our concerns regarding the
Egyptian candidate (ref D). Romulo said that the Philippines
was “100 percent committed” to the Egyptian candidate based
on Cairo’s support for the Philippines’ crucial candidacy for
observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conference
(OIC). Romulo said that the OIC issue also lay behind
President Arroyo’s recent visit to Libya. The Ambassador
said that the timing of Arroyo’s recent was unfortunate,
coming so soon after the international uproar over Libya’s
warm welcome for the released Lockerbie bomber. Romulo
replied that the trip was planned long ago and was not
related to Lockerbie, but rather to the need to maintain
Libya’s support for the Philippines’ OIC candidacy.

VITAL IMPORTANCE OF MCC COMPACT
——————————-

¶7. (C) Romulo reiterated the importance to the Philippines of
signing an MCC compact and said that, along with the NPT and
North Korea, it was one of the key issues that he would like
to discuss with Secretary Clinton and others during a
proposed visit to Washington in October, or in a bilateral
meeting with the Secretary at APEC in November. The
Ambassador said that with the technical plans for an MCC
compact going well, the key was for the Philippines to show
progress on the indicators — particularly corruption. A
great deal of work had gone into developing a compact
proposal, she continued, and we all hoped that a compact
could be signed. Washington has seen many negative press
reports on issues related to the indicators, so it is
incumbent upon the Philippines to make the best possible case.

LAME DUCK STATUS FRUSTRATES ARROYO
———————————-

¶8. (C) Commenting on Malacanang Palace atmospherics and
domestic politics, the Foreign Secretary said that with more
than nine months left until she leaves office, President
Arroyo had become increasingly frustrated with those who
considered her a lame duck. Nevertheless, he said that she
was resigned to the fact that her presidency would end next
summer.
KENNEY

   

 

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