Sep 132014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/11/08MANILA2523.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08MANILA2523
2008-11-06 09:19
2011-08-30 01:44
SECRET
Embassy Manila

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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002523

SIPDIS

PACOM FOR ADMIRAL KEATING FROM AMBASSADOR KENNEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/06/2018
TAGS: MARR MOPS PINS PREL PTER RP
SUBJECT: YOUR DISCUSSIONS WITH GENERAL YANO AT CHOD CONFERENCE

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

¶1. (S) Admiral Keating, in advance of your meeting with
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General
Alexander Yano at the Chiefs of Defense conference, I wanted
to give you a quick update on the situation in the
Philippines and some key areas where I believe the strong
relationship you have developed with General Yano could help
us in our efforts to move forward important initiatives. I
know that General Yano deeply values the bonds of trust and
mutual respect you have developed over the past months, and I
believe that your views on critical issues like the fighting
in Mindanao, the stalled peace process and our bilateral
security ties can help continue to move General Yano in a
good direction.

NEW PRESIDENT, SUSTAINED SUPPORT
——————————–

¶2. (C) I am certain you will find General Yano (and
presumably his fellow chiefs) extremely interested in how the
election of Barack Obama will affect U.S. security policy in
the region and globally. In my discussions with an array of
Philippine officials, including President Arroyo, whom I met
yesterday just hours after President-elect Obama’s win, I
have emphasized that while every President has the right —
and obligation — to shape our national strategy in line with
his political mandate, the strength and enduring nature of
U.S.-Philippine security, economic and personal ties strongly
militate against a dramatic shift in our focus of helping the
Philippine people create a more stable, secure and prosperous
democracy. General Yano will benefit from your broad
perspective on how the changing conditions in other key
areas, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan, could impact our
global commitments, including in Mindanao. I have been
struck by the extraordinary interest and enthusiasm
engendered by our election process among Filipinos of every
political stripe, and I have stressed the importance of a
peaceful, cooperative transition from President to President,
which is not the norm in the Philippines.

CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO PEACE
—————————–

¶3. (C) I took the opportunity in my meeting with President
Arroyo to underscore our belief that a reinvigorated peace
process is the only viable long-term solution to the Muslim
insurgency in Mindanao. She reaffirmed to me her clear
determination to revive the stalled peace talks with the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and from my discussions with
her top peace advisor, your former counterpart Jun Esperon, I
am convinced the President is indeed committed to seeking
peace, and moving carefully to build a grassroots consensus
for renewed dialogue with the insurgents.

END THE FIGHTING, REBUILD SHATTERED LIVES
—————————————–

¶4. (S) At the same time, however, the President and her key
security advisors — including General Yano — appear
determined to continue their search for the rogue MILF
commanders who carried out savage attacks in central Mindanao
in early August, even though numerous Philippine military
officials have acknowledged to us that the local MILF
military capabilities have now been so degraded by AFP
efforts that there is no strategic military benefit to
continuing the operations. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of
civilians are living in wretched conditions in displaced
persons camps, and despite the efforts of USAID and
international aid groups, sanitary and health conditions
continue to deteriorate.

¶5. (S) I strongly believe that returning the displaced
civilians to their villages, and having the Philippine
military focus their efforts on civil-military operations to
help rebuild shattered lives, will do more to reduce the
conditions that breed insurgency than continuing a possibly
futile search for three outlaws in heavy jungle. We also
worry that military morale (and budgets) will begin to suffer
if the hunt drags on until Christmas and beyond. I am
certain that your views on the situation would carry
additional weight with General Yano.

TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY
———————-

MANILA 00002523 002 OF 002

¶6. (S) On the counterterrorism front, we continue our
vigorous efforts to provide the Philippine military with the
information and capabilities that will allow them to
effectively track down and interdict the most dangerous
high-value terrorists still at large in the country,
particularly Mindanao. General Yano has responded positively
to our proposals to date, and I would encourage you to
reinforce with him our determination and willingness to move
quickly in providing assistance whenever good opportunities
present themselves.

BROADER STRATEGY
—————-

¶7. (C) From our talks here, General Yano understands that we
regularly reassess our overall approach in the southern
Philippines, evaluating both our successes and how to tackle
remaining challenges. While we often emphasize the role and
mission of the JSOTF-P, and how it might transform as
conditions change, I intend to begin focusing more on the
importance of how we can build upon the clear successes of
the current Philippine defense reform program, whose end
coincides with that of the Arroyo administration in 2010. It
would be useful to reinforce with General Yano the need to
begin now to lay the groundwork for our next phase of
military cooperation, which would further position the
Philippines as a country capable not only of defending its
own borders but contributing to regional security.

ARF EXERCISE
————

¶8. (C) In that same vein, I would appreciate any positive
encouragement you could give General Yano on the upcoming
ASEAN Regional Forum disaster relief exercise scheduled for
next spring, as you so convincingly did during your last
visit. The Philippine government is thoroughly engaged in
preparing for the unprecedented ARF exercise, and General
Yano will welcome your views on PACOM’s contributions to the
success of this U.S. co-hosted exercise.
KENNEY

   

 

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