Cable en el que se detalla la visita de Gadafi a España

  • Fuentes de Exteriores revelaron a EE UU que organizar la agenda había sido una "pesadilla".
  • El embajador Aguirre valoró la visita de Gadafi como una oportunidad para reactivar las relaciones comerciales entre España y Libia.
  • El diplomático estadounidense calculó unas ventas de 1.500 millones de euros en material de defensa.






2008-01-14 15:58:00




Embassy Madrid








DE RUEHMD #0034/01 0141558


R 141558Z JAN 08










C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MADRID 000034




E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/18/2018




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Classified By: DCM Hugo Llorens for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. During Libyan leader Qadhafi's first

official visit to Spain, December 15-18, MOUs were concluded

on defense, economic cooperation and investment.

Negotiations are still underway on a double taxation treaty.

Qadhafi's visit began with a private two-day visit to

Andalucia, followed by a productive official visit in Madrid

that focused on Libya's renouncement of terrorism, as well as

potential trade and investment opportunities. The Spanish

Government estimated that Spanish trade and investment with

Libya could increase by 17 billion dollars (2 billion in the

defense and aeronautical areas, 5 billion in the energy

sector, and 10 billion in infrastructure). The Spanish MFA,

in both the meeting agenda and public statements, sought to

reinforce the message that Libya was moving in the right

direction since it had renounced terrorism, and that Spain

was helping it stay the course. Despite the agreements

signed with Spain, Qadhafi left a clear impression that

Africa continues to be his main priority. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Libyan leader Qadhafi's first visit to Spain,

December 15-18, ended with the announcement of several

accords and the lauded potential of significant opportunities

for Spanish business interests. Apart from criticism by the

United Left (IU) political party, and an initial, negative

editorial in the influential daily paper El Pais, most of the

press was very positive at the end of the visit. However,

the initial El Pais editorial argued, "Qadhafi's visit goes

against the GOS declared principles on foreign policy. No

matter how succulent the economic deal might be, the effect

of this contradiction for democracy in Africa is

devastating." Counteracting the initial negative press,

Qadhafi spoke out against terrorism during his visit, citing

the commonality of interests between Spain and Libya. He

also called for action to end illegal migration flows through

increased investment in Africa to address economic and social

problems. Qadhafi told the press he believed there was a

special closeness between Libya and Spain, saying, "Spaniards

who work in my country do not seem like foreigners."

Qadhafi's positive statements about the need to confront

terrorist threats resonated with the Spanish populace.

Spanish officials used their public statements to emphasize

common interests in promoting peace and security, continually

hitting on the theme of rejection of violence.

3. (C) Apart from the news accounts about potential

business opportunities and the anti-terrorism statements,

Qadhafi's presence provided many picaresque descriptions of

his idiosyncrasies -- his unusual clothing, the size of his

huge entourage, the motorcade of over fifty vehicles, the

tents staked on the grounds of his accommodations, the

butchers providing fresh meat for his banquets, his

fascination with the Spanish flamenco performers... Qadhafi,

sporting scraggly, dyed black hair and sparse mustache and

goatee, arrived in Seville on Saturday, December 15 for a

personal visit in advance of his official program on December

17-18. Instead of meeting, as anticipated, with the Spanish

Islamic Community and a workers' union, Sindicato de Obreros

del Campo, Qadhafi invited former President Aznar and his

wife, Ana Botella, to dinner. Aznar was the first world

leader to visit Libya in 2003 after UN sanctions were lifted.

It was expected that Qadhafi would tour historic Islamic

sites in the Andalucia region or go hunting in the foothills

of the Sierra Nevada. However, unexpectedly, he left Seville

on Sunday to visit Marbella on the coast, where he reportedly

enjoyed a flamenco performance (and paid an extravagant

amount to have the performers give a repeat performance later

in Madrid). MFA officials did not have any role in the

weekend agenda, which was arranged and paid for by the Libyan

Embassy, although Spanish government protocol officials

liased with the Libyan Embassy staff. MFA contacts confided

to poloff that the schedule was a planning nightmare, with

the Spanish protocol staff bearing the brunt of constant

changes and demands from the estimated 350-person Qadhafi

entourage that filled three Afriqiyah Airline planes. While

Qadhafi's appearance was disheveled and his face, in

photographs, seemed swollen and with limited range of motion,

MFA officials who saw him during meetings said that he was

able to communicate effectively and his health appeared

stable. The MFA staff after the visit seemed to give a

collective sigh of relief and on balance the visit was

considered a positive development. Indeed, Qadhafi refrained

from making any outrageous statements and the government did

not face criticism on human rights issues. In addition, the

visit offered the potential for major economic and commercial

MADRID 00000034 002.2 OF 003

gains and the Libyan leader left feeling pleased with the

reception from his Spanish hosts.

4. (C) In order to counteract any criticism about Qadhafi's

visit, the MFA carefully constructed an agenda focused on

positive aspects of engaging with Libya and bringing it into

more constructive activities. There had been concern among

MFA officials that potential Qadhafi outrageous statements or

behavior might open the government to strong criticism, but

it seemed that Qadhafi got all the vitriol out of his system

during his prior stay in Paris. MFA North Africa Deputy

Director General Manual Gomez-Acebo told poloff that his team

was careful to make sure that the GOS' public statements did

not overstate any results from the Qadhafi visit, only

alluding to potential trade and commercial ties on the

horizon. The main message was that Libya was moving in the

right direction since it had renounced terrorism, and that

Spain was helping it stay the course. Asked why Qadhafi

seemed to be relatively tame during the visit to Spain,

Gomez-Acebo gave three theories. He gave most credence to

the theory that Qadhafi was "enchanted" by Spain, given the

affinities with Libyan culture Qadhafi would have noted

during his introduction to Andalucia with its Moorish

heritage and the remaining goodwill from Aznar's earlier

visit to Libya. The second theory was that Qadhafi "got it

out of his system" during his time in France, or that his

Libyan advisors got him to tone down his statements after

negative remarks by the French press corps. Third was the

speculation that Qadhafi was always unpredictable, and it was

just luck that his visit to Spain ended smoothly, despite all

the logistical complications behind the scenes. The MFA

final assessment was that despite the many benefits that

could accrue to Libya through good governance and other

multilateral activities, Qadhafi was still not interested in

any meaningful engagement. Qadhafi left a clear impression

that Africa continues to be his main priority, despite the

recent stops in France and Spain. Gomez-Acebo said that

Qadhafi gave Spanish interlocutors plenty of rhetoric about

his self-styled leadership role for the African continent.

5. (SBU) In Madrid for the official program, after a

military review at the Pardo Palace where the government

provided accommodation, Qadhafi had lunch with King Juan

Carlos, Minister of Culture Cesar Antonio Molina, Minister of

Health Bernat Soria, and Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon.

Qadhafi also dined with President Zapatero, Minister of

Economy Pedro Solbes, Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel

Angel Moratinos and business representatives. In terms of

ongoing trade and commercial projects, the Spanish

construction firm Sacyr Vallehermoso has an agreement to

participate in infrastructure development. Abengoa has

contracts for electric cabling and water infrastructure.

Indra is developing a new air traffic control system for

Libya. In addition to the oil exploration and production

activities of Repsol, other firms cited for potential Libyan

investment include Conservas Calvo (fish canning) and Mantas

Mora (wool products). Qadhafi told Javier Gomez Navarro,

President of the High Council of Chambers of Commerce, that

Libya sought offers for joint projects in tourism,

construction, textiles, electronics, defense and hydrocarbon


6. (C) At the end of the visit, Qadhafi and Zapatero

signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) on promotion and

protection of investments, economic cooperation, and defense

cooperation. The two governments were not able to conclude a

double taxation agreement, but Spain agreed to consider the

Libyan text of its existing taxation treaties with France and

Germany. In addition to the MOUs, Spain and Libya issued a

political declaration in which they agree to strengthen

coordination and exchange information in a number of areas,

including counterterrorism and illegal migration. The

political declaration specifically rejected linking terrorism

to any nation, culture, or religion, and called for dialogue

through initiatives such as the Alliance of Civilizations.

Spain and Libya agreed to hold yearly meetings of their

Ministers of Foreign Affairs and to increase bilateral

contacts among other institutions (Parliament, Autonomous

Communities, municipalities, universities, etc.). Both

countries agreed to Armed Forces cooperation through training

courses and joint exercises. The MFA said that the Libyans

had pressed at the last minute for some MOUs that could be

signed, after months of stalling on any negotiations broached

by the Spanish Embassy in Tripoli. It was only in the week

before the visit that some innocuous general agreements were

finalized for signature. (Copy of Spanish text obtained from

MFA has been scanned and emailed to Embassy Tripoli).

MADRID 00000034 003.2 OF 003

Asked if Libyan Secretary for European Affairs Abdulati

Obeidi participated in the visit or negotiated any of the

documents, Gomez-Acebo said that Obeidi was not an important

contact for the Spanish mission. They worked their

interests directly through Qadhafi's personal staff and his

"chef de cabinet" or through Musa Kusa, one of whose sons

lives in Andalucia.

7. (SBU) In the assessment of palace watchers and protocol

experts, the level of ceremony accorded to Qadhafi fell short

of that accorded other dignitaries. It was noted that King

Juan Carlos was gracious and polite, but seemed to have

little patience for Qadhafi's quirkiness. Newspaper

accounts described "an abbreviated" military review for the

Libyan leader and speculated that the palace protocol

reflected the ambiguity of the "brother leader's" position on

any government organization chart. The Partido Popular (PP)

and Partido Socialista de Obreros Espanol (PSOE) generally

agreed on their assessment of the visit. PP Secretary

General Angel Acebes said that Spanish foreign policy must be

based on the defense of national interests and respect for

Human Rights, while PSOE Secretary General Pepe Blanco said

that the GOS had considered that this was the right moment to

establish commercial relations that will be very positive for

Spain. Spain is Libya,s third largest customer for fuel,

after Italy and Germany. In 2006 Spain imported 3.7 billion

euros, and exported 85 million to Libya. The Spanish

Government estimated that Spanish trade and investment with

Libya could increase by 17 billion dollars (2 billion in the

defense and aeronautical areas, 5 billion in the energy

sector, and 10 billion in infrastructure.)

8. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.


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