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2003-03-31 08:22:00
Embassy Amman
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						S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 AMMAN 001905 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2013

Classified By: DCM Gregory L. Berry for reasons 1.5 (B)(D).

General Overview

1. (C) The Embassy is operating on a normal schedule March

31. Consular services are open. Activities at the American
Language Center remain suspended, and there is only
restricted activity by FSN's at the Peace Corps office.
Movements of American staff remain restricted.


Consular Issues


2. (C) Consular section began receiving phone calls asking
whether the Embassy is open to receiving Iraqi applications
for refugee status. Callers are being told that "all refugee
applications must first be approved by UNHCR before any
receiving country can consider granting such status."

3. (C) Approximately 1:00 a.m. local time, Michael
Birmingham, (Voices in the Wilderness, Chicago) telephoned
the Embassy to say that his friend Ramzi Kysia, reportedly a
U.S. citizen, with "Voices of the Wilderness" had departed
Baghdad on Sunday, 3/30 at 9:00 a.m. by car for Jordan and
had not been heard from since. Mr. Birmingham said he had
checked with the UN relief agencies working at the border and
they did not think Mr. Kysia had crossed. Mr. Birmingham
said he would advise Embassy when he hears from his friend.

4. (U) Eight peace activists are staying in the Hotel Monzer
in the Abdali section of Amman. They plan to depart for the
U.S. on Tuesday. One activist, Mr. Weldon Nisly, is
currently in the hospital and may not be able to travel. If
he does not travel, one other member of the group will remain
with him. Consular Section and RMO visited him March 31.
The eight Amcits are: Leah Wilson, Margaret Gish, Shane
Clayborne, Betty Scholten, Clifford Kindy, Kara McGill,
Weldon Nisly, and Johnathan Hartgrove.


GOJ Actions/Statements


5. (C) During a visit to the Public Security Division (PSD),
Petra news agency reports that King Abdullah II hailed PSD
for its work "in keeping the citizens' security and the
homeland's stability," and reiterated respect for freedom of
expression in Jordan. The King pointed out that the
Jordanian people's expressions of feelings about Iraq have
been "conscious and responsible," embodying Jordan's "angry
stand" on the consequences of the war on Iraq for civilians
and in solidarity with them. (Ref FBIS GMP200330030000178)




6. (C) Petra news agency reported that on Sunday Jordanian
journalists condemned the "American-British invasion against

Iraq." The demonstration organized by the Press Association
expressed support for Iraq "in the face of the vicious attack
which claims the lives of hundreds of unarmed civilians."
(Ref FBIS GMP200330030000175) The item did not report how
many people attended the demonstration.

7. (C) There were a few small, non-violent gatherings in the
city March 30, with a couple of gatherings scheduled for last
evening. No violence was anticipated with these known
gatherings. There was a candlelight vigil held by 100 - 200
women at the UN offices. 100 press members marched to a
press office near Jordan University. Additionally, 700
people demonstrated at the Professional Associations Complex,
but did not leave that complex.


Economic and Trade Developments


8. (SBU) Queen Alia International Airport Director Nasri
Nowar reported that two planeloads (747s) of humanitarian aid
from Japan will arrive at the airport March 31. Nowar said
the Japanese Embassy was playing the event up as a photo op
with 60 Japanese journalists and the Ambassador of Japan
expected to be in attendance. He also said that Royal
Jordanian flights to the United States will continue to
operate once or twice per week, depending on loads, and that
service to Europe both by RJ and European carriers was still
running, albeit at reduced levels.

9. (SBU) The Amman Stock Exchange was down slightly by .36%
on lower trading March 30. Banking sector contacts said
business was normal and emphasized, alluding to reports of
unusual activity in the Saudi banking sector, that there were
"no indications or suggestions" of capital flight in Jordan.

10. (SBU) Contrary to local press reports, Jordan Telecom
(JT) has not reestablished telephone links with Iraq via
alternative satellite routes. JT Director of Marketing
Olivier Faure said that, although the company had attempted
to reroute calls through a number of different telecom
providers (including MCI in the U.S. and British Telecom in
the U.K.), it had not yet been successful. Faure was not
optimistic that connections would be established in the short
term, given what he termed "the obvious damage" to the Iraqi
fixed-line network, judging by the "ever-increasing" number
of complaints by customers unable to reach friends and family
in Iraq.

11. (SBU) A QIZ company manager said that one of his major
clients, accounting for half of his production, cancelled
April orders due to the war. He said another client asked
him to put a confirmed May order on hold. Embassy/Econ
informed him of Embassy and Washington activities related to
QIZ support during the crisis, and offered to contact his
buyers if he desired.


Refugee/Humanitarian Issues


12. (S) Military sources report that the two-truck MSF
convoy has been located. According to MSF, the trucks had
been held at the Iraqi side of the Jordan-Iraq border since
Wednesday, March 28 (no further details on why the trucks had
been held). The convoy reportedly left the Iraqi side of the
border at 1200 yesterday (local time) and was expected to
reach Baghdad by nightfall yesterday. Iraqi customs and
immigration officials continue to staff the border post on
the Iraqi side.

13. (C) IOM reports that 26 TCNs crossed into Jordan from
Iraq overnight (March 30-31). Nine of them reportedly have
document problems and are being held at no-man's land at the
border. An elderly Iraqi couple with health problems who
seek permission to transit Jordan en route to Bahrain also
are awaiting permission to enter Jordan. UNHCR believes GOJ
authorities will allow the couple to tranist Jordan. IOM
reports that a significant and ever-changing number of Somali
and Sudanese nationals continue to insist that they do not
want to return to their countries of origin. The Somali and
Sudanese nationals are long-term residents of Iraq (15 - 20
years) who claim that they have no remaining ties to their
home countries or any means of supporting themselves there -
- or, in some cases, even getting back to their home
villages. IOM cannot forcibly repatriate these TCNs, nor can
it offer any assistance (repatriation packages, etc.) to help
convince them to go home. UNHCR is interviewing everyone who
says they don't want to return home but so far has not found
that anyone meets UNHCR criteria for refugee status. As long
as the total transit camp population remains manageable
(total population hovers around 250 right now, as IOM is
making plans to repatriate people in small groups), IOM and
the Jordan Red Crescent believe they can provide a minimal,
acceptable level of care for the TCN population for the
foreseeable future. Without having been out to the camp,
Embassy Refugee Coordinator suspects that many of these
Somalis and Sudanese are hoping to wait out the war here in
Jordan and then return to their homes/jobs in Iraq after some
degree of stability has returned to Iraq. So far, all of the
relevant players - - including the GOJ - - seem inclined to
let them wait it out, but it is not clear how long that will
be true.

14. (C) Another emerging protection question is the status
of Palestinians trying to enter Jordan. 18 Palestinians
without any travel documentation were admitted to the transit
camp in Ruweished, but UNHCR reports that over the last two
days, two separate groups of stateless Palestinians (total of
11 individuals) held overnight in no-man's land were
"persuaded" by GOJ authorities to return to Iraq. UNHCR is
starting to suspect that these were not voluntary returns.
The GOJ has made it very clear to everyone involved that it
will not allow Palestinians to enter Jordan, but need to find
a way to care for stateless Palestinians until it is safe for
them to return to their homes in Iraq.




15. (U) No new issues.