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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02COLOMBO1990
2002-10-24 11:32:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Colombo
Cable title:  

OFFICIAL INFORMAL NUMBER 148 (10-24-02)

Tags:   AMGT  CE 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L COLOMBO 001990 

SIPDIS

OFFICIAL INFORMAL

DEPT FOR SA/INS FROM AMBASSADOR WILLS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10-24-12
TAGS: AMGT CE
SUBJECT: OFFICIAL INFORMAL NUMBER 148 (10-24-02)

Classified by DCM Lewis Amselem, Reasons 1.5 (b, d)

CONTENTS: GAYOOM VISIT
RODRIGO RECALL
ICC

GAYOOM VISIT
------------


1. (C) We have the following points for you to use
regarding President Gayoom's request for a meeting with
President Bush:

-- In his almost 25 years in power, President Gayoom has
been very friendly to the U.S., and the Maldives has
consistently used OIC, UN, and other fora to stake out
moderate positions.

-- Under Gayoom, the Maldives has been an eager member of
the international coalition against terrorism,
immediately condemning the September 11 terrorist attacks
and offering the U.S. any help it needed. (Note: This
may not seem like much now months after the horrendous
event, but right after September 11 it was something that
was deeply appreciated.)

-- After September 11, for example, Gayoom allowed U.S.
forces blanket overflight and ship clearances. This was
important as the Maldives lies due north of the U.S. base
at Diego Garcia.

-- The Maldives could prove similarly helpful if military
action against Iraq proves unavoidable.

-- As far as we are aware, no Maldivian leader has ever
met with a U.S. President since the country gained
independence from the UK in 1965. In the run-up to the
Gulf War, then-Secretary Baker briefly stopped in Male to
rally support. That was apparently the highest level
contact between the two countries. As a friendly
country, the Maldivians -- in requesting a high-level
meeting -- clearly want to upgrade ties.

-- Given these factors, we think that a meeting between
Gayoom and President Bush deserves very serious
consideration. If the President is not available, we
would then suggest a meeting with the Vice President.

-- While we understand that a meeting may not be
possible, we guarantee that the Maldivians -- who do not
request much from us -- will be hurt if we do not come up
with a good reason for a turn down of its request. Any
hint that we are giving short shrift to the Maldives
because it is a small state will be noticed and resented.

(POL)

RODRIGO RECALL


--------------------------




2. (U) Per your o/i note, we have requested the dipnote
from the MFA withdrawing Nihal Rodrigo's name. (POL)

ICC WAIVER


--------------------------





3. (C) You'll see our front channel report on the latest
twist and turn in the ICC saga. The MFA continues to put
on the stall. Let us know ASAP Washington's views on the
latest proposal from the MFA; meanwhile, we're going to
take it up at the political level again. (DCM)

WILLS