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Viewing cable 09MANAMA435, BAHRAIN'S FOREIGN MINISTER ON PEACE PROCESS, IRAQ, AND IRAN REF: MANAMA 409 Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANAMA435 2009-07-16 14:02 2011-02-18 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manama
VZCZCXRO9221
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHMK #0435 1971450
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161450Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8818
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0331
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT  PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000435 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA, SPECIAL ENVOY MITCHELL, AND EEB 
NSC FOR ROSS, TALWAR, SHAPIRO 
OVP FOR BLINKEN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/16/2019 
TAGS: PREL KPAL ENRG IS IR RU BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAIN'S FOREIGN MINISTER ON PEACE PROCESS, IRAQ, AND IRAN REF: MANAMA 409 Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(C) Summary: Ambassador met with Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa on July 16.Sheikh Khalid said that Bahrain was ready to begin media engagement with Israel and meet Israeli officials in international fora. The Crown Prince intends to visit Iraq post-Ramadan. The Foreign Minister remains concerned about developments in Iran and mentioned a Russian offer to sell Bahrain gas from a Gazprom concession in Iran's South Pars field. He also discussed ways in which Bahrain could respond to the President's Cairo speech. End summary.

2.(C) Sheikh Khalid said that he, the Crown Prince, and King Hamad had reviewed and discussed President Obama's message on the peace process. They were preparing a formal response. He continued that, absent any first steps from Israel, Bahrain was ready to meet face-to-face with Israeli officials in international fora and to speak to the Israeli public directly and immediately, via the Israeli media, in order to positively shape attitudes towards peace with the Arab world. As a first step, he mentioned an opinion piece the Crown Prince had penned and submitted to the Washington Post. (Entitled, "It Is Time to Do More," it has been forwarded to NEA by unclassified email.)

3.(C) Turning to Iraq, Sheikh Khalid reported that following a good meeting with Tareq al Hashemi on July 15 at the NAM meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Crown Prince Sheikh Salman had said that he intends to travel to Baghdad soon. The Foreign Minister (who has already made the pilgrimage) suggested that the Crown Prince travel soon after Ramadan. At the Ambassador's urging, the Foreign Minister also pledged to reiterate to the GOI Bahrain's standing invitation for Maliki to visit Manama. Noting Bahrain's disappointment at the slow pace of Saudi-Iraqi rapprochement, Sheikh Khalid mused about inviting a senior Saudi to see Maliki, if and when he came to Manama.

4.(C) On Iran, Sheikh Khalid said that he expects FM Mottaki will be replaced by someone closer to Ahmedinejad and the mullahs. He lamented the lack of a GCC consensus on the threat posed by Iran and noted that unfortunately Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia are having to "go it alone" in responding to it.

5.(C) Sheikh Khalid then raised the issue of Iranian gas supplies. He explained that Iran had granted Gazprom a concession in its South Pars field and that, from this concession, Gazprom has offered to sell directly to Bahrain more than enough gas to meet its energy needs. While the GOB's first choice remains getting gas from the Abu Safa field joinly held with the Saudis or from Qatar, the Foreign Minister said that his government was considering the Russian offer. He reasoned that Russia was going to be a presence in the region; Bahrain needs the gas; and this deal could provide Russia with an interest in maintaining positive, stable relations with the Arab side of the Gulf. Sheikh Khalid stressed, however, that Bahrain wanted to remain on the right side of U.S. sanctions and policy and asked for our official views on the matter. Ambassador pledged to get back to him with an answer.

6.(U) Finally, Ambassador and Foreign Minister discussed Secretary Clinton's Council on Foreign Relations speech and the President's Cairo speech. Sheikh Khalid praised them both and said that Bahrain wanted to take concrete steps to help implement the President's ideas on educational, economic, and scientific partnerships. Ambassador and he agreed to develop specific proposals together. ERELI

<_protect>0 07/16/2009 3889 PREL,KPAL,ENRG,IS,IR,RU,BA Ambassador met with Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa on July 16.Sheikh Khalid said that Bahrain was ready to begin media engagement with Israel and meet Israeli officials in international fora. The Crown Prince intends to visit Iraq post-Ramadan. The Foreign Minister remains concerned about developments in Iran and mentioned a Russian offer to sell Bahrain gas from a Gazprom concession in Iran's South Pars field. He also discussed ways in which Bahrain could respond to the President's Cairo speech.