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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1788,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1788 2009-09-15 10:10 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO5790
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1788/01 2581048
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151048Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3621
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0695
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0356
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 1087
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1363
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1948
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1202
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001788 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA, NEA/ARP, AF/SPG, NEA/I E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/14/2019 TAGS: PREL KPAL KWBG IS IZ WEU GZ SY SU EG

SUBJECT:

ARAB LEAGUE SPOKESMAN BRIEFS ON SEPTEMBER MINISTERIAL Classified By: Minister Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Donald A. Blome for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.(C) Key Points: -- According to Arab League (AL) Cabinet Chief Hisham Youssef, the key topics of discussions at the September 9-10 AL Ministerial included the Iraqi-Syrian dispute, the crises in Sudan, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. -- The AL and Turkey are mediating the Iraq-Syria security dispute and have presented a "confidence-building proposal" that encouraged both countries to return their Ambassadors and asked them not to escalate the dispute in the media. There is a tentative follow-up meeting in Turkey on either Wednesday September 16 or Thursday September 17 -- Optimism on the Middle East peace process is "declining" due to the Israeli decision to build 500 additional housing units in the settlements. Youssef said the League is hoping for good news from S/E Mitchell's current visit, but if there is no settlement freeze, the Arab Peace Initiative (API) committee will advise Abu Mazen not to return to trilateral peace talks. The next meeting of the API committee is scheduled for September 22. -- The ministers are "cautiously optimistic" about the improving situation in Darfur. The Sudanese Minister of State asked AL ministers to support the Doha process. However, Youssef said that the AL is concerned about the deteriorating situation in southern Sudan

2.(U) Briefing the diplomatic community in Cairo, Arab League Cabinet Chief Hisham Youssef said the September 9-10 AL ministerial focused on the Iraqi-Syrian dispute, the crises in Sudan, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. He said that the meetings on the margins of the ministerial were much more substantive than the general sessions. --------------------------------------------- -- Iraq and Syria Welcome AL and Turkish Mediation --------------------------------------------- --

3.(C) Youssef said that AL SYG Amr Moussa had separate discussions with Iraqi FM Zebari and Syrian FM Moallem to get their perspectives on the bilateral dispute over the August 19 bombings in Baghdad. These meetings were followed by a "quartet meeting" that included Moussa, Moallem, Zebari, and Turkish FM Davutoglu. Youssef categorized the discussions as "frank" and said that both Iraqi and Syrian representatives expressed their governments' desires to "ease the tensions" and "resolve the issue." The AL and Turkey presented a "confidence-building proposal" that encouraged the countries to return their Ambassadors and asked them not to escalate the dispute in the media. According to Youssef, the Syrian and Iraqi FMs welcomed the Turkish and AL mediation. Both Moallem and Zebari returned to their capitals for consultations, and there will be a follow-up meeting in Turkey on Thursday September 17. Youssef told Poloff privately that at this meeting, Iraq will share with Turkey satellite imagery evidence to support its position. He told us that Syria was also keen to examine the satellite photos. --------------------------------------------- --- Declining Optimism on U.S. Mideast Peace Efforts --------------------------------------------- ---

4.(SBU) Youssef said AL ministers condemned the Israeli decision to build 500 additional housing units in the settlements. He praised the efforts of S/E Mitchell and said that he should be "given every chance to succeed." However, Youssef said that optimism about the U.S. approach was "beginning to decline." He told us that the API committee will meet with Abu Mazen on September 22 after the AL receives a readout of S/E Mitchell's current visit to the region. This will allow the committee to review "any progress" from the visit and evaluate its options. Youssef stressed that Abu Mazen asked for AL support, and unless there is a complete settlement freeze, including East Jerusalem, the API committee will advise Abu Mazen not to return to trilateral peace talks. He stated that the AL CAIRO 00001788 002 OF 002 already paid the price for an end to Israeli settlement activity when it halted the Arab boycott of Israel. Youssef said that the League is hoping for good news from the Mitchell visit, but the AL must be ready to act on both good news and bad news.

5.(SBU) Youssef said the AL was fully supportive of Egyptians efforts to reconcile the Palestinian factions. He said SYG Moussa met Khalid Meshaal "behind the scenes" and encouraged him to cooperate with Egyptian efforts. Youssef hoped that the next meeting of the Palestinian factions after Ramadan would bear fruit. --------------------------------------------- --------- Buoyed by Progress in Darfur; Concern over South Sudan --------------------------------------------- ---------

6.(SBU) Youssef said there was a special September 10 meeting on Sudan. Ali Kurti, the Sudanese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs told the group that Government of Sudan (GoS) was focused on efforts to resolve the situation in Darfur and encouraged the other ministers to support the Doha process. Youssef praised the work of S/E Gration and UN/AU Mediator Djibril Bassole to resolve the Darfur crisis. According to Youssef, Professor Hassan Mohamed (NFI) told the group that USD 100 million in financing had been received from Arab countries and the AL to provide food aid, health clinics and wells in Darfur. (Note: Youssef said that Saudi Arabia and Qatar had provided USD 20 million each, Libya had given USD 10 million, and the AL had given USD 8 million. End Note). Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Abdallah Al Mahmoud praised the efforts of Libya and Egypt to unite the Darfur groups. He gave a presentation on next steps, which include a meeting of the Arab-African committee, a group of 12 Arab and 12 African countries, on September 24 in New York during the UNGA. This will be followed by discussions with rebel leaders in Doha at the end of October that would set the stage for negotiations with the GoS. Youssef characterized the Sudan meeting as "cautiously optimistic" on Darfur. However, Youssef expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation in southern Sudan. He said that the AL supports the S/E Gration's "trilateral mechanism" that includes the USG, NCP and SPLM. -------------------------------------- The NPT and the AL's Global Engagement --------------------------------------

7.(SBU) Youssef mentioned that the AL is "looking forward" to the UNSC's discussion of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) on September 24 in New York. He said that the League welcomes the reduction of strategic nuclear weapons and the "universal principle" of non-proliferation.

8.(U) Youssef told the diplomats that the AL is coordinating worldwide with numerous governments and organizations. In addition to the Arab-African committee, the League is sponsoring an Arab-Japanese forum in Japan in December and Arab and European FMs plan to meet in late December or early January. The AL also signed an agreement to hold an Indo-Arab forum in India in February 2010, and the AL will organize a "China Forum" during the second quarter of 2010. Arab-Turkish, Arab-Russian, and Arab-Latin American fora will also be held in the near future. Scobey