Viewing cable 07VATICAN26
Title: HOLY SEE: DEPUTY FM DISCUSSES MIDDLE EAST, CHINA,

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07VATICAN262007-01-29 07:57:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
VZCZCXRO0951
PP RUEHCN RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHGH RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHSR RUEHVC
DE RUEHROV #0026/01 0290757
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 290757Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0640
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0012
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0668
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 000026 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  1/29/2017 
TAGS: PREL VT
SUBJECT: HOLY SEE:  DEPUTY FM DISCUSSES MIDDLE EAST, CHINA, 
VENEZUELA 
 
 
VATICAN 00000026  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Christopher Sandrolini, Charge d'affaires, EXEC, 
State. 
REASON: 1.4 (d) 
¶1. (C) Summary. Deputy FM Parolin discussed a number of 
countries with visiting EUR/WE Director Allegrone on January 24. 
 The Holy See was unsatisfied by its recent talks with Israel on 
a Final Agreement.  Parolin sought information about the funding 
situation for the Palestinian Authority.  He was interested in 
the Paris Lebanon donors conference and reiterated the Holy 
See's strong concern for Christians in Lebanon, and over the 
violence in that part of the world.  Parolin urged the US, as he 
has done before, to consider engaging Iran and Syria; he 
discussed recent Iranian contacts with the Vatican and thought 
that Ahmadinejad is losing support at home.  On China, Parolin 
was both hopeful and cautious.  He said the Holy See would like 
to send an envoy to China at the appropriate time, and noted the 
mild Chinese reaction to a recent Vatican statement on relations 
with China -- but recalled that the real problem is the 
Patriotic Association, and predicted a long and complicated path 
ahead.  Parolin expressed concern over the situation in 
Venezuela and, regretting the lack of a united opposition there, 
noted the Church's general preference to avoid confrontation. 
End summary. 
 
¶2. (SBU) EUR/WE Director Kathleen Allegrone called on Monsignor 
Pietro Parolin, the Holy See's Undersecretary for Relations with 
States (i.e., deputy foreign minister) on January 24.  Charge 
d'affaires and Monsignor Paolo Gualtieri (Americas desk officer) 
also attended.  Discussion covered a number of topics as 
described below. 
 
Israel, Palestine 
---------------------- 
 
¶3. (C)  Referring to ongoing negotiations over the Final 
Agreement between Israel and the Holy See, Parolin said the 
meeting on January 13 had not been satisfactory to the Vatican 
and there had been no change in the stalemate.  Israel remains 
unwilling to grant the tax exemptions for Church property sought 
by the Holy See, and also remains unwilling to accord the 
Agreement itself the equivalent of treaty status -- thus the 
Agreement could potentially be overturned by future Israeli 
legislation.  Parolin also complained that Israeli negotiators 
lack the authority for genuine negotiations.  High level talks 
usually seem productive, but at the working level -- since every 
point must be referred to the GOI -- talks proceed very slowly 
and accomplish little. 
 
¶4. (C) Regarding the Palestinians, Parolin asked whether anyone 
in Hamas was yet willing to compromise with Israel; Allegrone 
said it was not.  Parolin asked for information about the level 
of funding available to the Abbas government to pay for 
essential services (note: post will provide) and asked about the 
Road Map.  Allegrone said Secretary Rice hopes to meet both 
Abbas and Olmert informally soon, and noted that the Quartet 
would meet February 2 at the minister level in Washington. She 
emphasized USG interest in keeping a focus on democracy 
initiatives and institution building, and not letting the 
ongoing violence absorb all attention. 
 
Lebanon, Syria, Iran 
----------------------------- 
 
¶4. (C)  Allegrone discussed Secretary Rice's visit to Paris for 
the Lebanon donors conference, and Siniora's emphasis on 
economic reform.  Parolin, observing that the Holy See had not 
been invited, requested more information about the conference 
and who had been invited.  He reiterated the Holy See's special 
concern for the Christian population.  He said Hezballah sees 
the Siniora government as too pro-West.  Parolin recalled the 
Pope's strong concern (expressed in his recent message to the 
diplomatic corps) over violence in the Middle East and 
especially Lebanon. 
 
¶5. (C) Parolin urged the US to engage Syria and Iran in some 
kind of dialogue.  Allegrone said the US has seen no sign of 
changed behavior from Syria, and does not view that country as 
ready for a positive role; as for Iran, Secretary Rice has 
recently reiterated that the USG is prepared to have direct 
discussions with Iran on the range of issues, but that Iran must 
first meet its international obligations to fully and verifiably 
suspend enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear material. 
Parolin, pressing his point, argued that there has been an 
evolution inside Iran, with Ahmedinejad losing support from the 
population and from Khamenei.  Asked about Iranian-Holy See 
relations, Parolin noted the Pope's call for Iran to give 
assurances to international community to build trust. 
Ahmadinejad's letter to the Pope, received December 27, had 
contained nothing specific, only the general wish of Iran for 
more interreligious dialogue, and exchanges of views.  This was 
essentially the same message as the Iranian Vice Foreign 
Minister had brought some weeks earlier; he will come back to 
 
VATICAN 00000026  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
Rome next May.  Parolin said the Vatican wants a deeper 
relation, i.e. of the overall Church, not just the Holy See; he 
hoped a cultural exchange channel could be opened. 
 
China 
-------- 
 
¶6. (C) Parolin said the Holy See wants to send a papal 
representative to China, but is not in a hurry to do so.  The 
situation is difficult, complicated by last year's illicit 
episcopal nominations.  The Vatican has sent several messages to 
the Chinese government signaling its hopes for a pragmatic 
solution, as had seemed to be on track until last year.  The 
initial Chinese reaction to the Holy See's January 19-20 review 
of China policy (and subsequent statement) had been moderate. 
The key remains the principle of ordination policy, on which the 
Holy See cannot compromise (though it can be flexible in 
practice).  Parolin acknowledged that it may be a long process. 
He said the real problem is not the government, but the Chinese 
Catholic Patriotic Association, and particularly Liu Bainian, 
its vice chairman and de facto head. 
 
Venezuela 
---------------- 
 
¶7. (C) Parolin said the Holy See remains very concerned about 
Venezuela, noting that Chavez had now attacked a bishop as a 
personal enemy.  Chavez is taking up all political space. 
However, the Holy See remains wary of any confrontation, 
particularly in present circumstances. He regretted the lack of 
a united opposition in Venezuela. 
 
Comment 
-------------- 
 
¶8. (C) Parolin has long been our best interlocutor on foreign 
policy, as his seniors (Secretary of State Bertone and Secretary 
for Relations with States Mamberti) are both relatively new and 
fairly hard to reach.  Parolin, readily available, 
knowledgeable, and guardedly candid, may be due for a promotion 
to a nuncio's post in the near future.  His comments in this 
meeting reflected continuity in all topics:  disappointment at 
Israeli foot-dragging; concern over violence in the Middle East, 
and worry about Christian populations there; a belief that 
dialogue with Syria and Iran is important to any solutions in 
the region; opposition to the death penalty; short-term 
pessimism about relations with China, but a sense of likely 
progress in the longer term; and concern mixed with prudence in 
Venezuela. 
 
¶9. (U) Director Allegrone has cleared this cable. 
SANDROLINI