Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/05/07MANILA1707.html

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1707
2007-05-24 09:19
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXYZ0009
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHML #1707/01 1440919
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 240919Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6648
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 9609
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE IMMEDIATE 7134
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM IMMEDIATE 0131
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3230
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 001707

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2017
TAGS: MARR MASS MOPS MCAP PREL AU JA SN SW RP
SUBJECT: PREPARING FOR THE SHANGRI-LA DIALOGUE; PHILIPPINE
DEFENSE SECRETARY PRAISES U.S. COUNTERTERRORISM/DEFENSE
REFORM ASSISTANCE

Classified By: (U) Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney
for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY. Defense Secretary Ebdane views U.S.
counterterrorism cooperation on Jolo as a “real success
story,” and is appreciative of our assistance in the
Philippine Defense Reform program. He predicted President
Arroyo would sign a Status of Forces Agreement with Australia
during her upcoming visit to Canberra at the end of May.
Ebdane is looking forward to his meetings with Secretary
Gates, General Pace, and Admiral Keating at the Shangri-La
Dialogue in Singapore. These meetings represent an
opportunity to cite Philippine CT successes, especially on
Jolo, while urging a sustained effort to eliminate
trans-national terrorism in the Philippines. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (C) The Ambassador, JUSMAG Chief, and Deputy Pol/C joined
visiting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Asian and
Pacific Affairs Richard Lawless for his May 23 meetings with
Secretary of National Defense Ebdane and Ebdane’s senior

SIPDIS
staff. Mr. Lawless also met separately with Undersecretary
of Foreign Affairs for Special Concerns Rafael Seguis.

GRATITUDE FOR U.S. HELP
———————–

¶3. (C) Secretary Ebdane expressed gratitude for U.S.
military and counterterrorism assistance. “What we’ve done
together on Basilan and Jolo is a real success story,” he
said. He noted that U.S. Subject Matter Experts had also
played a key role in advancing defense reform, and that
recently delivered UH-1H helicopters would add badly needed
mobility to the Philippine military. Deputy Undersecretary
Lawless praised the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ ongoing
counterterrorism campaign on Jolo and the achievements of the
Philippine Defense Reform program, which is now entering its
fourth year.

SOFA WITH AUSTRALIA
——————-

¶4. (C) Ebdane said he would join President Arroyo on her May
30-31 visit to Canberra, during which she would sign a Status
of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Australian government.
He noted that the Philippines had adapted much of the
agreement with Australia from its experience with the U.S.
Visiting Forces Agreement. Mr. Lawless, pointing to
Australia’s recently concluded agreement with Japan, observed
that Canberra appeared ready to increase the depth and
breadth of its ties in the region. Ambassador added that the
new SOFA represented a great opportunity. Ebdane agreed,
noting that during his tenure as Chief of the Philippine
National Police, he had initiated contacts with the
Australian Federal Police. The Australians had subsequently
been of great help to Philippine counterterrorism efforts,
including providing assistance to the Abu Solaiman forensic
investigation, he commented.

GOOD RELATIONS WITH INCOMING CONGRESS?
————————————–

¶5. (C) Ebdane appeared relieved that the election season was
over, commenting that it was “high time” the Philippines
automated its elections. He predicted good relations with
incoming Members of Congress, most of whom he considered
“friends” from his previous tenure as Secretary of Public
Works. “I can talk straight with them,” he said, adding that
he hoped to present a defense development agenda that would
upgrade the ability of the Corps of Engineers to conduct
civil-military operations.

PRAISE, TOO, FROM DFA ON CT COOPERATION
—————————————

¶6. (C) Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Seguis also
thanked Mr. Lawless for U.S. counterterrorism assistance and
help with the Philippine Defense Reform program. “We
sincerely appreciate your support against terrorism,” Seguis
said, highlighting the success of the recent Balikatan

exercise. “I’ve seen with my own eyes the schools and
clinics U.S. troops have built,” he noted, adding that the
civil-military operations on the island of Jolo had generated
enormous amounts of good will for the United States. “Our
Muslim brothers really appreciate your help,” he stated. He
observed that Ambassador Kenney was “warmly welcomed wherever
she goes.”

LAWLESS: VFA WORKING; LET’S NOT MESS WITH SUCCESS
——————————————— —-

¶7. (C) Seguis underscored that the Philippine government
strongly believed in the benefits of the Visiting Forces
Agreement (VFA) and was committed to it. He claimed the
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had stood against
Philippine public opinion to defend the agreement and its
provisions for U.S. custody during the trial of Lance
Corporal Daniel J. Smith and three other U.S. Marines on rape
charges. He suggested that, now that the trial in the lower
court was over, perhaps certain paragraphs could be
“revisited.” “There are some defects we would like to
address,” he said. Mr. Lawless noted Seguis’ points, but
stressed that the agreement was working, so there was
absolutely no need to change or renegotiate it. Seguis
agreed that the VFA was working, and admitted that a lot of
the “noise” surrounding the Smith case had died down.

DIFFICULT ISSUES SURROUND
POTENTIAL PEACE ACCORD WITH MUSLIM REBELS
—————————————–

¶8. (C) Seguis noted that, although the DFA is not directly
involved in the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (which the Office of the Presidential
Advisor on the Peace Process handles), DFA experts provide
research, analysis, and other technical assistance to the
negotiators. He commented that there were still a lot of
“spoilers” who sought to undermine the peace process and that
defining the territory of the future Muslim autonomous entity
would be a difficult issue, as would the questions of
disarmament and decommissioning. Seguis said the Philippines
had reached out to Sweden for “peace building developmental
assistance.”

COMMENT
——-

¶9. (C) Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Hermogenes
Esperon will join Secretary Ebdane in Singapore for the
Shangri-La Dialogue. This will be an opportunity for senior
U.S. officials to cite real Philippine CT successes, while
urging sustained efforts to eliminate trans-national
terrorism in the Philippines.

¶11. (U) Deputy Undersecretary Lawless did not have the
opportunity to review this telegram before his departure.

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

   

 

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