Oct 182014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07MANILA646.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA646 2007-02-27 09:31 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO8589
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0646/01 0580931
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 270931Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5443
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 9547
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000646

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, PM, AND EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR FPA HUSO AND J5
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP (TOOLAN/BAILEY)
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/CLEMMONS)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MASS MOPS MCAP PREL PHUM AU RP
SUBJECT: INFORMAL U.S./AUSTRALIA/PHILIPPINE DEFENSE DIALOGUE

REF: MANILA 192

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The Philippine Department of National
Defense invited U.S. Embassy representatives to participate
in a February 22 “informal discussion” with Australian
officials on defense issues. Australia expects to sign a
status of forces agreement with the Philippines in 2007 and
hopes to explore greater participation in Balikatan and other
exercises. The Australian Army Watercraft Project and Coast
Watch South are two potential areas for tripartite
cooperation. Pol/C expressed our appreciation for close
partnership with each nation and trilaterally, but
underscored that it was based on shared values, including
respect for human rights, and called for additional measures
by Philippine authorities to bring culprits engaged in
extrajudicial killings to justice. We will actively seek out
other opportunities for productive engagement on issues of
mutual concern. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (SBU) The Department of National Defense invited POL/C
and representatives of the Joint U.S. Military Assistance
Group (JUSMAG)), Defense Attache’s Office, and Joint Special
Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) to attend a
February 22 “RP-U.S.-Australia informal discussion,” which
turned out to be primarily a joint briefing by Philippine and
Australian officials following their latest round of
bilateral defense talks. Australian Ministry of Defense
First Assistant Secretary for International Policy Stephanie
Foster chaired the Australian delegation.

“ENDURING TIES AND LASTING FRIENDSHIP”
————————————–

¶3. (SBU) Philippine Undersecretary for Defense Affairs
Antonio Santos framed the discussions by noting the robust
U.S.-Philippine defense relationship and thanking the United
States for its “enduring ties and lasting friendship.” He
explained that the Philippines and Australia had agreed at
the conclusion of their talks to open their defense dialogue
to a tripartite exchange to identify areas for collaboration.

POTENTIAL AREAS FOR TRIPARTITE COOPERATION
——————————————

¶4. (SBU) A/S Foster stated that Australia and the
Philippines were close to resolving the remaining issues
surrounding a status of forces agreement, which could be
signed later this year. Looking ahead, Australia hoped to
explore with the United States and the Philippines its
participation in future Balikatan and other exercises. She
cited as two potential areas of future U.S.-Australian
cooperation with the Philippines as the Army Watercraft
Project and Coast Watch South.

¶5. (SBU) Following an exchange of letters in 2006, Australia
agreed to train and equip one company (the 11th Special
Forces Company) of the Philippine Army’s proposed Riverine
Battalion with an Armed Forces of the Philippines commitment
to supply the infrastructure and fuel for the new
Cotabato-based force. The Australian Ministry of Defense
expects to release the tender for the boats soon, with the
goal of having the unit capable of operating in the
marshlands of central Mindanao by year end 2007. The JSOTF-P
commander observed that his forces had a robust presence in
Cotabato working with the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry
Division, and looked forward to cooperating with Australian
counterparts.

¶6. (SBU) U.S., Australian, and Philippine representatives
agreed that Coast Watch South offered opportunities to work
together as the Philippines sought to upgrade its ability
better to monitor its vulnerable maritime borders. Embassy
Manila’s Section 1206 proposals to establish a Maritime
Security Force and to install high-frequency radios in
existing and future Joint Interagency Task Force-West funded
maritime interagency intelligence fusion centers would help
make Coast Watch South more quickly operational by improving
maritime interdiction, analysis, planning, coordination, and
command and control capabilities. Australia’s recently
concluded Maritime Assistance Needs Analysis study could
complement the U.S.-sponsored Border Control Needs Analysis
in helping to identify areas for targeted assistance. All

MANILA 00000646 002 OF 002

parties concurred that close coordination and active
identification of areas of cooperation would serve mutual
interests and ensure greater effectiveness of bilateral
assistance programs.

CONCERNS ABOUT KILLINGS
———————–

¶7. (SBU) POL/C underlined to Philippine defense officials
U.S. concerns about unexplained and extrajudicial killings,
some of which have been allegedly committed by military
personnel. He underscored that our shared future was based
on shared values, including commitment to democracy and rule
of law as well as respect for human rights. He welcomed
Philippine efforts to confront the issue squarely and urged
the Philippine government, including the armed forces, to do
everything possible to bring all perpetrators to justice,
regardless of who they were. U/S Santos responded that the
Department of National Defense shared U.S. concerns, noting
that then-Secretary of National Defense Cruz had issued firm
policy guidance on the issue in October 2006. “We want to
correct mistakes on the ground,” Santos stated.

COMMENT
——-

¶8. (SBU) This was the first time we had been invited to
participate in the Philippine-Australian defense dialogue,
and take it as a very positive sign about the willingness of
our allies to pursue greater tripartite cooperation.
Australia is one of our closest counterterrorism partners
here, and we will actively seek out other opportunities for
productive engagement on defense issues of mutual concern.

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

   

 

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