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2003-03-24 12:40:00
Embassy Amman
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 001770 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2013

REF: FBIS GMP20030323000339

Classified By: Acting DCM Doug Silliman. Reason 1.5 (b,d).

General Overview

1. (U) The Embassy continues on a normal schedule, with
consular services open. Services at ancillary facilities --
the Peace Corps office and the American Language Center --
remain suspended.

2. (C) A large demonstration (3,000 students) at Amman's
Jordan University on 3/23 became unruly according to
international television reports. PSD security personnel
used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators
after they attempted to leave the campus.

3. (C) Companies operating in Jordan's Qualifying Industrial
Zones (QIZs) report no order cancellations or other problems
since the beginning of U.S. military action against Iraq. QIZ
businesses are operating as normal.

4. (SBU) Bilateral Debt Agreement Signed: Local Arabic
language newspapers covered in their economic pages the March
23 signing of a bilateral debt rescheduling agreement by
Ambassador Gnehm and Finance Minister Marto. Reporting was
factual, emphasizing assistance that the U.S. has provided
Jordan and including the Ambassador's comments emphasizing
the strength of the U.S.-Jordan relationship. All the
articles commented that this was part of an ongoing U.S.
commitment to support Jordan and that war-specific aid is
planned, but has not yet been approved.

5. (SBU) Japanese Economic Assistance to Jordan: The
Japanese Embassy confirmed that the Japanese government
intends to provide $100 million to Jordan to mitigate adverse
economic impacts on Jordan of the conflict in Iraq,
particularly the disruption of oil supplies and trade with
Iraq. The assistance will be provided in the form of Yen 6
billion (about $50 million) in a non-project grant, with the
remainder project-based assistance. Specific projects to be
covered by this commitment have yet to be determined.
Foreign Minister Kawaguchi provided this commitment to
Foreign Minister Muasher.

6. (C) The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported that 120
tractor trailer trucks carrying UN-approved food, medicine
and other humanitarian goods to Iraq under the Oil-for-Food
program have returned to Amman following the withdrawal of UN
Cotecna inspectors from Iraq. Additional shipments are being
held in Amman. The Ministry is now having to deal with
exporting companies who are upset at the financial losses
they and their employees face. The Ministry told us that
alternative markets for the goods, some of which are
perishable, are not easy to identify.

7. (C) Queen Alia Airport Director Nasri Nowar told econoff
March 23 that "7 or 8" Iraqis who arrived in Amman on the
last RJ flight from Baghdad (Amman 1661) remained at the
airport. He said they were awaiting transit to third

countries, including a few to the United States. He added
that they held valid visas, and said they were going for
training. The remainder, he said, were bound for Lebanon or
Africa. Nowar said that passenger traffic continued to
improve, and that normal operations continued.


Consular Issues


8. (C) No new issues. Inquiries remain light. NIV applicant
numbers are up from yesterday, although still fewer than


GOJ Actions/Statements


9. (U) PM Abul Ragheb, FM Muasher and Minister of Information
al-Adwan held a joint press conference on the evening of
3/23. Abul Ragheb:
-- stated that Jordan is seeking "to present new ideas and
opinions that would be acceptable to the parties concerned in
order to stop the military operations and save Iraq and the
lives of its citizens."

-- reiterated the GOJ's long held public posture that Jordan
"is not party to the ongoing war and will never be used as a
launching pad for a military operation against Iraq."
-- categorically denied that U.S. military operations in
Iraq's western desert had been launched from Jordan.

-- publicly confirmed that shipments of Iraqi crude had
stopped and
-- said the GOJ had asked the Iraqi Embassy to remove five of
its diplomats for "performing acts that were incompatible
with their diplomatic status and affect Jordan's security."
(today's newspapers quote Abul Ragheb as saying that Jordan
later allowed two of the five to remain.)




10. (C) Demonstration by approximately 400 persons currently
underway at Al-Zaytouna University on the airport highway
outside Amman on the morning of March 24. Police sources
expect rallies today at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Mu'tah
University in Karak, and Arab College in Amman. Lawyers are
reportedly engaging in an informal work stoppage today in
protest over the war.

11. (C) Leaflets depicting a dead Iraqi child with half his
head blown off are being circulated at street corners and
traffic lights. The leaflets denounce the US and the UK as
"criminals" and "murderers". (This is the same photo featured
on the front page of yesterday's papers.) PSD is attempting
to track down the source of the leaflets.


Refugee/Humanitarian Issues


12. (C) UNHCR reports that two more Amcits crossed into
Jordan from Iraq late on March 23. GOJ authorities gave them
permission to go directly to Amman. Neither has contacted
Embassy's consular section.

13. (C) IOM reports that a second group of some 150 Sudanese
left the Ruweished transit camp Sunday en route to Khartoum
via an IOM-chartered RJ flight. 11 Egyptians were scheduled
to leave Aqaba via bus that same evening. South African
officials were scheduled to pick up eight "human shields" who
arrived Saturday night. The camp population will be down to
less than 100 after the above departures. UNHCR reports no
new arrivals as of 1500 local time on March 23.




14. (SBU) All major papers carried front page photos of the
captured US soldiers, with emphasis on the strength of Iraqi
resistance and setbacks to coalition efforts. Lead story: PM
announced Jordan's launching of renewed diplomatic efforts to
stop the war, and characterized the US-led assault on Iraq as
"excessive use of force".