Viewing cable 04PANAMA1046
Title: EMBOFFS DISCUSS COUNTER-TERRORISM COOPERATION,

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04PANAMA10462004-05-03 22:36:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Panama
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L PANAMA 001046 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/MEX, EUR/RUS, AND INR/B 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2009 
TAGS: PREL ETRD EWWT PINR PM POL CHIEF
SUBJECT: EMBOFFS DISCUSS COUNTER-TERRORISM COOPERATION, 
COMMERCIAL TIES, REGIONAL PRESSURE 
 
REF: A. STATE 71826 
     ¶B. PANAMA 0274 
 
 
Classified By: DCM Christopher J. McMullen for reason 1.4 (b) 
 
 
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Building Bridges 
---------------- 
 
 
¶1. (C) On April 22, PolOffs met with Russian Embassy 
Counselor (DCM) Oleg Ostrovskiy and First Secretary Evgeny 
Lebedev for our first tete-a-tete.  Both GOR diplomats are 
Americas specialists and have already served in Panama for a 
year or more.  Noting the good relationship between our 
countries' heads of state and foreign ministries (Ref A) and 
our mutual interest in the war against global terrorism, he 
thanked PolOffs for reaching out to them regarding Ref A.  He 
offered to assist Embassy with the GOP in any 
counter-terrorism (CT) component that we may identify.  He 
commented on the bilateral information-sharing agreement 
between the GOR's Finance and Monetary Commission and the 
GOP's Financial Analysis Unit (UAF) to fight money 
laundering.  (Comment: We believe that agreement may be 
Russia's principal bilateral link with the GOP.  End 
Comment.)  At a February 2 mini-CT Action Group (CTAG) 
meeting, Ostrovskiy requested that the Embassy ask the GOP to 
brief the group on terrorist threats to Panamanian 
infrastructure.  (See Ref B.) 
 
 
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Making(-up) missions 
-------------------- 
 
 
¶2. (C) Ostrovskiy admitted that the Russian Embassy has weak 
ties with the GOP, saying that Russia-Panama relations still 
were "under development".  The embassy is relatively small 
with only 15 personnel, all Russian nationals, including 
eight diplomats.  In the region, the GOR has embassies in 
Costa Rica and Nicaragua and is establishing an embassy in 
Guatemala, supposedly because of economic interests. 
Ostrovskiy claimed no regional representational 
responsibilities, though Lebedev stated that he and 
Ostrovskiy travel to Mexico and Cuba on a regular basis. 
When pressed, Ostrovskiy named growing export and investment 
opportunities and natural-disaster response assistance as 
Russian-Panamanian agenda items.  However, their Embassy's 
Economic Counselor position was just eliminated, and 
Ostrovskiy could not elaborate on any recent aid projects. 
 
 
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New Embassy Site 
---------------- 
 
 
¶3.  Ostrovskiy confirmed Russia's plans to build a new 
embassy on a parcel at former Fort Albrook.  (Comment: 
Contrary to local newspaper reports, it would not be adjacent 
to our own new embassy compound in Clayton.)  Also, he stated 
that the GOR has yet to allocate funds for construction, 
though a lease agreement on the land has been finalized. 
Groundbreaking for the new embassy compound was held November 
1, 2003, according to press reports, and would comprise 1.5 
hectares (3.6 acres). 
 
 
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Comment 
------- 
 
 
¶4. (C) We pursued this meeting with the Russians because of 
comments made earlier to Ambassador Watt by former Russian 
ambassador Nikolay Vladimir, to the effect that Russia has 
plans to establish a Panama hub for its regional operations 
to replace Mexico, and would scale down its commercial and 
other activities in Mexico as it moves officers to Panama. 
After speaking with Ostrovskiy, it does not appear that 
changes in Russia's regional focus are imminent. 
 
 
WATT