|03AMMAN7387||2003-11-12 16:47:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Amman|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a discussion concerning a proposed
export control and related security assistance (EXBS) program
in Jordan, Jordanian Customs Department Director General
Mahmoud Qteishat expressed to the DCM his government's
gratitude and support for the program. Qteishat also gave
assurances of the Government of Jordan's (GOJ) willingness to
provide any and all assistance to Iraqi authorities as they
re-establish their customs department. Next steps are
proposed for the EXBS program and for support of closer
GOJ-Iraqi ties. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) DCM met with DG Qteishat November 12 to discuss the
EXBS program for Jordan outlined in Reftels (A, B), noting
that we would follow up with the likely POC for the program
in the Ministry of Planning. Qtesihat reviewed the steps
that GOJ Customs was taking to modernize and expressed
support for the EXBS program.
IRAQ BORDER CUSTOMS
3. (SBU) When asked about Iraq-border operations, the DG
noted that Jordanian customs had been doing the work of two
customs departments at the Karahmeh-Trebil checkpoint. Since
the U.S. Armed Forces took over at the border on the Iraqi
side, he said, they have focused on security; the military
has little experience in immigration or customs, he noted.
Because of the volumes at the border, including for
humanitarian shipments going into Iraq, the GOJ increased its
customs manpower. The GOJ customs department is also
focusing at the Iraq-Jordan border on security -- arms and
munitions -- and also on the attempted smuggling of Iraqi
historical and artistic artifacts. Qteishat expressed the
GOJ's satisfaction with the level of interdictions at the
border, noting the recent seizure of 15 Iraqi artifacts
smuggled out of Iraq that were "thousands of years old."
(NOTE: We have not seen this seizure reported in the press.
4. (SBU) The DCM asked the DG if he had any contacts with
Iraqi officials. Qteishat noted that he had unofficially met
the Iraqi interior minister, had met his Iraqi customs
counterpart a week ago, and would meet with him again in
December. Jordan has invited Iraqi officials to attend the
regional customs meeting in Abu Dhabi in January that Jordan
would be chairing, he said.
OFFER OF ASSISTANCE TO IRAQ CUSTOMS
5. (SBU) Qteishat expressed the GOJ's willingness to
provide any and all assistance to Iraqi customs as it begins
the process of reorganizing. The customs DG noted that the
GOJ was respected in the region for its efficiency and
effectiveness and had provided training in the past to Egypt,
Libya, and Lebanon. The DCM noted that such cooperation to
re-establish institutions in Iraq was welcome and suggested
that the embassy would follow up on this offer with officials
BILATERAL CUSTOMS MUTUAL ASSISTANCE AGREEMENT
6. (SBU) Qteishat briefly mentioned that a U.S.-Jordan
Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) was in the last
stages of review and that he had received authority to sign
such an agreement with the U.S. (COMMENT: He implied that
the GOJ had not yet endorsed the latest round of suggested
amendments by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, passed to
Qteishat directly by CBP on October 30. END COMMENT.)
7. (SBU) IRAQ NEXT STEPS: Post's USAID AMIR Program (which
focuses on economic policy initiatives, and has a program on
customs reform and modernization) has limited funding to
support a get-together between Iraqi and Jordanian customs
officials. We understand that AMIR is in touch with CPA's
Customs POC in Baghdad, LTC Ed Burley. Embassy strongly
suggests that we expand the programs of cooperation and
coordination in customs, especially since Iraqi customs is
set to begin collecting tariffs on January 1, 2004.
8. (SBU) EXBS NEXT STEPS: Post is preparing to host a WMD
Awareness course January 11-15. As noted Reftel C, because
of the ambitious scope of the EXBS program in Jordan, we
strongly urge the assignment and placement in Jordan of an
EXBS advisor who could coordinate the program activities from
Jordan. If we expect Jordanian officials to fulfill their
security objectives, they will need training soon and this
will require the presence of an advisor soonest. Post is
grateful for Washington's cooperation and initiative in
advancing EXBS measures in Jordan.
9. (U) CPA minimize considered.