Oct 282014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/05/08MANILA1287.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA1287
2008-05-29 08:34
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

O 290834Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0841
INFO DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 001287

FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/29/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL RP
SUBJECT: SHAPING PRESIDENT ARROYO’S WHITE HOUSE VISIT

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

¶1. (C) Summary: President Gloria Arroyo is keenly
anticipating her planned June 24 meeting in Washington with
President Bush, and her top advisors are focusing intensively
on preparations for those talks and other expected events
during her visit. In recent discussions with the Ambassador,
top Cabinet officials close to President Arroyo have
acknowledged the importance of keeping the Oval Office
session focused on more strategic concerns —
counterterrorism and the Mindanao peace process, bilateral
security cooperation, China, broader Asian issues like Burma
and the Six-Party Talks, Philippine economic progress —
while seeking a range of meetings with U.S. Cabinet members
(and selected Congressional leaders) for more in-depth
discussions on concerns such as human rights, defense reform,
food security and other issues. Mission intends to continue
encouraging President Arroyo’s advisors to move in this
direction, and to help shape their public message to present
the many successes the Philippines has achieved (including
with U.S. help), as well as the difficult challenges it still
faces. End summary.

¶2. (C) The Ambassador has met recently with key advisors to
President Arroyo to gauge (and help shape) planning for her
June 24 White House meeting with President Bush. While the
Philippine government has not yet announced the visit, her
main advisors, including Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita,
Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, National Security Advisor
Norberto Gonzales, and Agriculture Secretary Arturo Yap,
emphasized that President Arroyo and her counselors are
actively weighing their goals for both the discussion with
President Bush and for the range of other meetings they hope
to hold in Washington. In several recent encounters with the
Ambassador, President Arroyo stressed her intense interest in
meeting with President Bush and sharing views on key global
and regional concerns, and her top lieutenants expanded on
those comments in separate discussions.

¶3. (C) Arroyo’s advisors are all intensely aware that the
time allotted for substantive discussions in the Oval Office
is relatively brief, and that it is essential to prioritize
the issues discussed by the two leaders. The Ambassador’s
talks in the past few weeks have suggested a general
consensus among the various Cabinet officials that key issues
include counterterrorism successes and bilateral security
cooperation, prospects for peace in Mindanao, relations with
China (and the upcoming Beijing Olympics), shared concerns on
democratization in Burma, broader Asian issues including
relations with North Korea, and the Philippines’ economic
reforms and challenges.

¶4. (C) In his meeting with the Ambassador, National Security
Advisor Gonzales focused on the status of the Mindanao peace
process, and President Arroyo’s continuing confidence that a
territorial agreement with the insurgent Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) was within reach, and that a more
comprehensive accord could be achieved before the end of her
term in 2010. Post believes that the Oval Office talks come
at a key juncture in the peace talks, and could strongly
reinforce our enduring commitment both to Philippine security
efforts and to a durable peace accord.

¶5. (C) Similarly, President Arroyo and her advisors are
keenly aware of U.S. interest in pressing ASEAN to take a
more active stance in promoting democratization throughout
the region, particularly in Burma. The Oval Office talks are
a key opportunity to highlight President Arroyo’s continued
outspoken support for more rapid democratization in Burma,
and her efforts to get the Burmese junta to allow in foreign
assistance and aid workers after Cyclone Nargis.

¶6. (C) We understand President Arroyo would like to hold
discussions as well with several U.S. Cabinet members, likely
to include the Secretaries of State, Defense, Commerce and
Agriculture, as well as with selected Congressional leaders
and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Post strongly
supports these Cabinet-level discussions, which would allow
more in-depth discussion of improvements in human rights and
governance, U.S. assistance programs, continued defense
reform and modernization, trade concerns and food security.

COMMENT
——-

¶7. (C) Philippine goals and expectations for the June 24 Oval
Office meeting appear to be evolving positively as more
senior — and well connected — Arroyo advisors concentrate
on this important visit. Mission believes that current
Philippine thinking — holding a focused discussion on the

most important strategic and regional issues we face —
affords us our best opportunity to encourage the Philippines
to maintain progress on key reform efforts and support our
top policy goals in the region.

KENNEY

   

 

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