Viewing cable 09LISBON141
Title: PORTUGAL: DISAPPOINTING BRIEFING ON GUINEA-BISSAU

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09LISBON1412009-03-10 11:25:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Lisbon
VZCZCXRO5033
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBZ RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHDU RUEHFL RUEHGI
RUEHIK RUEHJO RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHNP RUEHPA
RUEHPOD RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHTRO RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHLI #0141 0691125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 101125Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7448
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0406
RUEHPD/AMCONSUL PONTA DELGADA 0582
UNCLAS LISBON 000141 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PO
SUBJECT: PORTUGAL: DISAPPOINTING BRIEFING ON GUINEA-BISSAU 
 
REF: LISBON 0129 
 
¶1. (SBU) The Portuguese Foreign Ministry on March 9 briefed 
the Lisbon diplomatic corps on recent activities in 
Guinea-Bissau.  Portuguese MFA number two, Secretary of State 
Joao Cravinho, last week led a delegation of the Lisbon-based 
Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) to Bissau, 
and this briefing was the readout from that visit. 
Unfortunately, the briefing was not very useful. 
 
¶2. (SBU) Jorge Cabral, the MFA's Acting Deputy PolDir for 
Multilateral Affairs, provided the briefing and noted that 
Cravinho's March 3-5 CPLP mission to Bissau included the 
CPLP's Executive Secretary (from the Bissau-Guinean embassy 
in Portugal), and was joined on the ground by the Brazilian 
and Angolan ambassadors in Bissau.  The delegation met with 
the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Defense Minister and 
service chiefs, as well as with the UN SRSG, and ECOWAS 
representatives. 
 
¶3. (SBU) The delegation found the situation in Bissau "calm 
yet fragile".  They passed the following messages to their 
interlocutors: 
- signaled solidarity with the citizens of Guinea-Bissau, 
- appealed to the country's leaders for calm, 
- offered CPLP support in turning the page on the cycle of 
violence, 
- noted the importance of a serious investigation into the 
two assassinations, 
- expressed willingness to mobilize international assistance, 
especially for elections, 
- stressed the importance of replacing General Na Wai and 
bringing the armed forces fully under political control, 
- expressed CPLP's willingness to work with other 
international partners on the range of issues, including 
pensions for retired military personnel. 
 
¶4. (SBU) The Bissau-Guinean interlocutors responded, said 
Cabral, with expressions of willingness to investigate the 
killings and to follow the constitutional process forward, 
and with a request for rapid support from the international 
community.  ECOWAS officials similarly agreed on the 
importance of the role of the international community, saying 
that an international contact group should meet quickly. 
Cabral did not offer any notional dates, locations, or 
participants for such a meeting, and he did not solicit input. 
 
¶5.  (SBU) Cabral did not know about the plans of President 
Vieira's widow (rumored to be seeking asylum in Portugal), 
but commented that she seemed comfortable in the Angolan 
embassy in Bissau.  He offered no conclusions, preliminary or 
otherwise, about the events of March 1-2 and the two 
killings, and he did not know when the CPLP might meet again 
to discuss the way forward. 
 
¶6. (SBU) COMMENT.  Today's briefing was disappointing.  The 
Portuguese MFA often presents itself as a leader within, and 
a bridge to, the lusophone world.  It pays a great deal of 
attention to events in lusophone countries and expends a 
great deal of effort "leading" the CPLP.  Yet all of the 
information from this briefing could be found in today's 
Lisbon newspapers.  If the MFA has some ideas for 
Guinea-Bissau, but is not ready to reveal them, we have to 
ask why not, and why hold a briefing?  If the MFA does not 
have any ideas, we have to wonder if it is in a position to 
offer leadership in this crisis.  We came away with a sense 
that Portugal --and others interested in the future of 
Guinea-Bissau-- have the desire to contribute to a solution, 
but are not yet able to offer a way forward or ideas on how 
others might participate. 
 
 
For more reporting from Embassy Lisbon and information about Portugal, 
please see our Intelink site: 
 
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/portal:port ugal 
 
STEPHENSON