Viewing cable 08LISBON251
Title: PORTUGUESE MFA POLITICAL DIRECTOR, AMBASSADOR

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08LISBON2512008-01-29 17:54:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Lisbon
VZCZCXRO4248
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHLI #0251/01 0291754
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291754Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6603
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LISBON 000251 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2018 
TAGS: PREL ENRG EPET PINR PO IR
SUBJECT: PORTUGUESE MFA POLITICAL DIRECTOR, AMBASSADOR 
DISCUSS KOSOVO AND IRAN 
 
REF: A) LISBON 238 B) LISBON 183 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Thomas Stephenson for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 
. 
 
Summary 
-------- 
 
¶1.  (C) During a friendly, one-hour courtesy call at the 
Foreign Ministry on January 29, MFA political director Bramao 
Ramos told the Ambassador the EU is about two weeks away from 
agreement on a public statement to be issued in response to a 
Kosovo declaration of independence.  The statement is 
intended both to send a message of EU unity and to provide 
flexibility for member states to devise individual responses 
at their own pace.  The political director believes it is 
critical that the EU and U.S. issue statements 
simultaneously; the EU is aiming to act within 24 hours after 
a Kosovar CDI but may need an additional 24 hours.  For its 
part, Portugal plans immediately to announce its intention to 
recognize Kosovo; formal recognition would likely follow 
within a matter of weeks.  The Ambassador expressed concern 
about the Iranian Foreign Minister's visit the week before, 
particularly indications of expanding collaboration between 
Portugal's principal oil and gas company, Galp (which is 
privately owned), and Iran's national oil company.  At a time 
when the international community is trying to increase the 
pressure on Iran, expanding trade linkages was unlikely to 
convince Iran to back away from its nuclear ambitions, the 
Ambassador emphasized.   End Summary. 
 
¶2.  (U) Ambassador Stephenson paid his initial courtesy call 
on MFA political director Vasco Bramao Ramos on January 29. 
He was joined by DCM and polecon counselor.  Bramao Ramos was 
joined by deputy political director for bilateral affairs 
Jorge Cabral and deputy director of the Americas department 
Manuel Grainha do Vale. 
 
Kosovo 
------ 
 
¶3.  (C) After initial pleasantries, Bramao Ramos told the 
Ambassador he had chaired an EU political directors meeting 
on Kosovo the day before at the General Affairs and External 
Relations Council (GAERC).  Participants had focused on 
managing the EU's response to a Kosovo coordinated 
declaration of independence (CDI).  Although a majority of EU 
member states "can deal" with a CDI, there are a few 
countries for whom it will pose significant difficulties, 
such as "our Spanish friends."  Nonetheless, this is the only 
way and time to proceed, and what the EU is aiming for is a 
public statement that permits all 27 member states to go as 
far as each of them can.  Such a statement is very important 
because it sends a strong message of EU unity while providing 
flexibility to member states.  "We are very close" to 
reaching agreement, perhaps "two weeks away," the political 
director said.  Asked when the ESDP mission would be 
deployed, Bramao Ramos said almost certainly not prior to a 
CDI but likely within 120 days thereafter. 
 
¶4.  (C) Regarding timing, the EU is looking to respond within 
24 hours after a CDI but may need an additional 24 hours to 
"get its act together," given the internal EU bureaucracy and 
the difficulty of getting anything vetted and cleared 
quickly.   Asked why such preparations could not be done in 
advance, Bramao Ramos said the EU cannot prepare a formal 
response to a situation that "does not yet exist."  Pressed 
on why 48 hours would be significantly better than 24 hours, 
Bramao Ramos said a day's delay -- if that ultimately proves 
necessary -- would ensure there is no gap between U.S. and EU 
announcements.  It is "extremely important" that the EU and 
U.S. act simultaneously.  Bramao Ramos said Portugal's own 
reaction to a CDI would be quick, since no parliamentary 
action is necessary.  The GOP plans to issue a statement 
right away announcing its intent to recognize, followed by 
formal recognition within several weeks. 
 
¶5.  (C) Noting the "unbelievable proliferation of mosques and 
madrasas" in Kosovo and Bosnia, Bramao Ramos underscored the 
importance of undertaking a major effort to boost economic 
development in those countries, partly in order to reduce the 
prospects for growth of Islamic fundamentalism. 
 
Iran 
---- 
 
¶6.  (C) The Ambassador raised the visit to Lisbon the 
previous week by Iranian FM Mottaki (reftels), expressing his 
surprise at potentially expanding collaboration between Galp, 
Portugal's major (private) oil company and Iran's national 
oil company.  It would certainly be helpful in turning up the 
heat on Tehran if there were fewer such economic linkages 
 
LISBON 00000251  002 OF 002 
 
 
between Europe and Iran.  "I know," the political director 
replied, but pivoted quickly to underscore global unanimity 
that Iran should not become a nuclear weapon power, while 
expressing support for Tehran's right to a civilian nuclear 
program.  The Ambassador pressed, noting that UN sanctions 
have had an important political impact and asserting that 
reduced trade linkages would strengthen the international 
community's efforts.  The political director refused to be 
drawn into that, declaring only that the best solution is for 
Iran to be permitted to build reactors subject to vigorous 
IAEA scrutiny, while requiring that the enriched fuel be 
imported. 
 
¶7.  (C)  Bramao Ramos added his personal view that the best 
way to prevent Iran from continuing down its current path is 
for the United States to sit at a negotiating table with 
Iran.  That development would drive Iranians to push their 
government to back down, Bramao Ramos believed.  Secretary 
Rice has indicated our willingness to do so, the Ambassador 
pointed out, so long as Iran first suspends its enrichment 
program.  In any event, the more pressure we can all bring to 
bear on Tehran, the likelier it is that a meeting of that 
sort would be productive, the Ambassador added. 
 
¶8.  (C)  The Ambassador asked whether FM Amado had raised the 
case of missing American citizen Robert Levinson with 
Mottaki.  Bramao Ramos was unsure but promised to inquire 
when he spoke with Amado later in the day. 
 
Bilateral Commission 
-------------------- 
 
¶9.  (C)  The political director noted the upcoming Bilateral 
Commission meeting was scheduled for February 21.  He was 
considering recommending changes to the format that would 
allow more substantial discussion of important issues during 
the plenary session.  The Portuguese side is fleshing out 
some ideas and would share them with us in advance of the 
meeting. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶10.  (C) As usual, Bramao Ramos was both amiable and 
long-winded, but there was more substantive discussion of 
issues than we had expected in an initial courtesy call.  He 
provided more concrete detail than usual about how the EU 
response to a CDI is likely to unfold.  Regarding the timing 
of the EU statement, we would welcome the Department's 
guidance on how to respond to his point that the EU might 
need 48 hours rather than 24.  Bramao Ramos seemed to believe 
the multi-layered EU bureaucracy might preclude the 
production of a fully cleared statement within 24 hours, 
although it is unclear to us why that ground work cannot be 
done in advance. 
Stephenson