Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 5408 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YM YI YE

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI156, LIBYA'S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: LOOKING FOR SIGNALS OF

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09TRIPOLI156.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI156 2009-02-18 10:10 2011-01-31 21:09 SECRET Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO5264
OO RUEHTRO
DE RUEHTRO #0156/01 0491044
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 181044Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4509
INFO RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1412
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY 0770
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY 0843
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 0905
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1013
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0699
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5034
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 TRIPOLI 000156 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/17/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM MASS MARR PTER KPAO KPAL LY
SUBJECT: LIBYA'S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER:  LOOKING FOR SIGNALS OF 
U.S. INTENT 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy - Tripoli, U.S. Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(S) Summary: In their first meeting, Libyan National Security Adviser Muatassim al-Qadhafi (son of Muammar al-Qadhafi) and the Ambassador discussed issues relating to the bilateral relationship and his putative visit to Washington in April. Muatassim, initially nervous but cordial throughout, welcomed the Ambassador and said Libya was looking for positive movement from the U.S., especially on selling equipment (armaments) and providing training to the military, as well as cooperation in the civilian nuclear field. Libya had given up much, he argued, and it was time for the U.S. to show some trust and confidence in the relationship. The Ambassador noted that the GOL also needed to build up a trustworthy track record, especially with respect to commitments to fully dismantle its WMD programs and precursors. The Ambassador discussed actions the GOL could take in the next several weeks in advance of Muatassim's proposed visit: facilitating a human rights dialogue, executing proposed Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) training programs and supporting the Embassy's efforts to purchase land for a New Embassy Compound (NEC). Such measures, in addition to the positive step of having invited U.S. Africa Command's General Ward to visit (currently scheduled for March 10-11), would help pave the way for a successful Muatassim visit. Muatassim denounced the Human Rights Report as unfair and rejected a role for NGOs, asserting that relevant topics should remain in the government-to-government channel. He concluded by underscoring that a decision by the POTUS to meet with Muammar al-Qadhafi at the upcoming G-8 Summit in Sardinia would be interpreted by the GOL as a key signal of U.S. intent with respect to further developing the bilateral relationship. End summary.

2.(S) The Ambassador met with National Security Adviser (NSA) Muatassim al-Qadhafi on February 17 for a little over an hour. At Muatassim's request, the Ambassador came alone while al-Qadhafi was accompanied by his assistant, Hind Siala, and MFA Secretary for the Americas (A/S-equivalent) Ahmed Fituri. Al-Qadhafi, uncharacteristically speaking in English (halting but passable), opened by welcoming the Ambassador and asking how the situation was in the U.S. The Ambassador described the latest developments with respect to the economic stimulus bill. Al-Qadhafi asked if the USG, in the midst of an economic crisis, would be able to focus on foreign affairs as well. The Ambassador noted the Secretary's current trip to Asia and the appointment of several special envoys as reflecting the new administration's intent and ability to focus in earnest on international affairs. Al-Qadhafi asked when we might expect a visit by the Secretary. Ambassador said he had no information on the Secretary's upcoming schedule and in any case it would be better to focus on al-Qadhafi's expected visit to Washington, notionally scheduled for late April. That visit would be an important opportunity to help the two sides chart their expectations of what "normal" bilateral U.S.-Libya relations would mean. MUATASSIM WANTS TO SIGN A TIFA AND ECA

3.(S) Muatassim said he looked forward to signing a U.S-Libya Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and an Education and Cultural Protocol during his visit. The Libyan side had comments on the wording of the latter related to the GOL's rejection of language ascribing any role for NGOs. Al-Qadhafi asserted that government-to-government contacts would be the appropriate channel for these issues and stressed that the GOL would not countenance the " ... same situation as had been the case with Egyptian NGOs". He launched into an impassioned argument against the annual Human Rights Report (HRR), arguing it did not reflect the real situation and that it was inappropriate for the U.S. to comment on the situation in Libya or in the region, where different cultural norms obtained. "You should get rid of it [the HRR]", he said. Perhaps, he suggested, the GOL should ask its embassy-equivalent in Washington to critique the human rights situation in the U.S. The Ambassador answered that the report was Congressionally-mandated and that there were strict criteria embassies worldwide followed in preparing it. Al-Qadhafi was taken aback when he learned that various domestic and international organizations regularly report on and criticize human rights issues in the U.S. such as prison conditions. 

LIBYA KEEN ON BROAD SECURITY AGREEMENT AND SECURITY ASSURANCES

4.(S) Muatassim said Libya was keen to obtain broad security guarantees from the U.S. The Ambassador stressed that the kind of overarching document he sought was not feasible; however, the U.S. was prepared to consider separate agreements that would encompass the various areas of cooperation envisioned by the GOL draft and would be willing to revisit the possibility of incorporating security language in a joint communique that could TRIPOLI 00000156 002 OF 003 be issued in connection with Muatassim's visit. (Note: The GOL raised a broad security agreement and language on security assurances in advance of the Secretary's visit in September 2008 and in the run-up to a proposed visit by Muatassim to Washington in January 2009. End note.) Muatassim repeatedly asked why the U.S. was reluctant to provide training and weaponry to Libya, especially after the GOL had abandoned its WMD programs. Libya was "embarrassed" when asked by North Koreans and Iranians, who might potentially be looking to do the same thing, what they had received for having taken such a major step. Libya was a key partner in the fight against terrorism, but GOL officials were puzzled that the U.S. still did not seem to really trust Libya's intentions. Libya would prefer to receive equipment and training from the U.S.; however, if that was not possible, the GOL would turn to other sources. The Ambassador replied that trust needed to be built up on both sides and that such a relationship might take some time to develop. 

STEPS LIBYA COULD TAKE TO ESTABLISH TRUST AND A TRACK RECORD

5.(S) Turning the discussion back to Muatassim's Washington visit, the Ambassador suggested that Libya could profitably take several steps now in the run-up to the visit to establish such trust. The invitation to U.S. Africa Command's General Ward to visit Libya in March was a good start. Muatassim said the GOL looked forward to the visit and that he hoped to schedule a meeting for General Ward with Muammar al-Qadhafi and Secretary of the Temporary Defense Committees (Minister of Defense-equivalent) Abu Bakr Younis. The GOL remains skeptical of U.S. Africa Command's intentions and would look for Ward to provide a definitive sketch of what he and his organization planned to do.

6.(S) The Ambassador continued that Libya could also take another step by inviting a team from Washington to commence the much-discussed high-level human rights dialogue. Full implementation of its commitments to give up WMD and WMD precursors, to include facilitating the return of spent highly-enriched reactor fuel to Russia, would constitute an important signal of Libya's willingness to adhere to promises. The U.S. was aware of Libya's keen interest in pursuing civilian nuclear cooperation; however, there were those in the U.S. who doubted Libya's intentions. Signing the government-to-government agreement that was required to facilitate the return of spent reactor fuel from Libya to Russia as agreed under the Trilateral Steering and Coordination Committee (TSC) would be an important step on the road to changing the minds of those who held such views. Muatassim responded that on civilian nuclear and military-to-military cooperation , Libya expected that the steps that it had already taken warranted positive cooperation from the U.S. "There is trust or there is not trust", he said. Finally, the Ambassador said the GOL needed to decide whether to accept Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) training, which required submitting the names of proposed trainees for Leahy vetting. (Note: On the eve of an upcoming land border security training program, the GOL balked at providing names, arguing that such vetting was "inappropriate" and signaled a "lack of trust". End note.) The Ambassador said he was aware of Libyan sensitivities, but we had to adhere to the vetting process, which was required of all countries.

7.(S) Support from the GOL for the Embassy's effort to purchase land for a NEC would constitute another positive signal, the Ambassador said. Al-Qadhafi replied that there were historical sensitivities about this issue. There was no way Libya could agree to a "large office building on seven hectares of land". Such a facility would remind Libyans of the U.S. at Wheelus Air Base years before and be a magnet for demonstrations when, for example, crises periodically erupted over Israel's treatment of Palestinians. The issue was "not personal," [i.e., specifically directed against the U.S.] he said. No mission in Libya, including those of Russia and China, had been permitted to construct such an edifice. The Ambassador stressed that we were looking for four hectares, and that the building design would take into account the local culture and environment as well as meet strict standards of security. The U.S. was looking toward a normal relationship with Libya; if that came to be, we would need more staff and a larger space. The new embassy would reflect the new relationship. Al-Qadhafi said he would like to look at the intended design. The Ambassador replied the building had yet to be designed, but perhaps he could see if there was a general sketch of what it might look like. 

AL-QADHAFI-POTUS MEETING WOULD BE AN IMPORTANT SIGNAL TRIPOLI 00000156 003 OF 003

8.(S) Concluding, al-Qadhafi said he hoped President Obama would be able to meet the Leader during the July G-8 session in Sardinia. For Libya, such a meeting would be a critical signal that a page had truly been turned in the relationship. It would also be an important gesture in light of Muammar al-Qadhafi's recent election as Chairman of the African Union. The Ambassador undertook to convey the request to Washington.

9.(S) Comment: This, the first meeting between the Ambassador and Muatassim, went as well as could have reasonably been expected. After some initial nervousness, Muatassim seemed to relax and take on board our point about the need for Libya (and himself) not to focus solely on signing agreements but to build a track record prior to his planned visit. MFA A/S-equivalent Fituri subsequently called the DCM to say that he believed the chemistry was very good and that Muatassim had been pleased with the meeting. Notwithstanding the goodwill and past engagement with the GOL, it is clear that Muatassim's expectations with respect to military-to-military cooperation and security aspects of the relationship (to include a comprehensive agreement that incorporates security assurances) remain unreasonably high. The extent to which such expectations reflect the broader will of the regime is unclear; however, the suggestion that a meeting between the POTUS and Muammar al-Qadhafi at the G-8 would be an important signal likely represents a broader GOL aspiration. End comment. 
CRETZ