|03KUWAIT858||2003-03-11 13:01:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Kuwait|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 000858
1. (C) SUMMARY: Foreign Minister Shaykh Sabah told the
Ambassador March 10 that Kuwait still awaits a specific
request for support from Jordan (whose FM Muasher was due
here later in the day). He spoke ambiguously about whether
Kuwait's $100 million deposit in the Jordanian Central Bank
is just a deposit or an unofficial grant. On Iraq, Shaykh
Sabah said "do it quickly"; he repeatedly requested that his
government receive formal notification "at least one or two
days" in advance of hostilities. He urged the USG to be
sensitive to Saudi Arabia's need for discretion in its
cooperation with us. Shaykh Sabah regretted that the UAE had
not done more to push its proposal that Saddam leave office.
He also regretted disunity on the UN Security Council, but
blamed France, which he said would be "crazy" to veto the
latest draft resolution. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) The Ambassador, accompanied by Pol Chief (Notetaker),
met with First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
Shaykh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jabir al-Sabah March 10. MFA
Undersecretary Amb. Khaled al-Jarallah sat in along with Amb.
Khaled al-Babtain, Director of the Americas Department, and
Amb. Ahmed al-Fahd, Director of the Minister's Office.
(C) OIL FOR JORDAN
3. (C) The Ambassador said he had an instruction to urge
GOK support for Jordan in the event the supply of oil from
Iraq is cut off. Shaykh Sabah said Kuwait has taken no
decision on providing oil, awaiting a specific request from
King Abdullah to the Amir. (Jordan's FM Marwan Muasher was
due to arrive in Kuwait later in the day, and the Kuwaitis
seemed to expect him to bring a message from the King.)
Meanwhile, Shaykh Sabah noted, the GOK has deposited $100
million in Jordan's Central Bank. He laughed that the GOJ
had asked if it could use that money, and Kuwait replied:
"it's yours; why did we put it in your name?" The Ambassador
sought to clarify whether this meant the money -- which we
had always understood was just a deposit, a form of
balance-of-payments support -- was in effect a grant.
Shaykh Sabah responded ambiguously: "We told them, if you
can't use it, why did you take it?" (COMMENT: This may be a
signal that the $100 million is a de facto, off-budget grant,
but we do not consider that clearly established. END
(C) IRAQ: "DO IT QUICKLY"
4. (C) There was considerable discussion about Iraq. The
Ambassador reiterated the USG's deep appreciation for all of
Kuwait's support, noting that he had publicly described it as
"1000 percent of our wildest dreams." Several times during
the conversation, Shaykh Sabah underscored his desire that we
act quickly to eliminate Saddam's regime: dragging out the
process only allows opposition and complications to snowball,
he emphasized. Similarly, he urged that we move as fast as
possible to hand the governing of Iraq back to Iraqis. He
specifically -- and repeatedly -- requested that the USG give
the GOK "at least one or two days' official notice" in
advance of hostilities.
5. (C) He also went out of his way to urge the USG to be
sensitive to Saudi Arabia's need for discretion in its
cooperation with us, noting that Kuwait "will never forget"
the Saudi role in liberating it from the Iraqi invasion. He
was gratified that there are now some 5,000 Saudi troops in
Kuwait, along with about 4,000 from the UAE. He was pleased
with the UAE's initiative in proposing that Saddam step down
to avert war, but regretted that the UAE had not been more
active in pushing the proposal, leaving Kuwait to do most of
the diplomatic work.
(C) AFTER THE WAR
6. (C) The Minister asserted that Kuwait feels a duty to
help the Iraqi people and is giving facilities to the UN
"upon request." He said Kuwait is "ready" with sufficient
stocks to meet the UN's requests for humanitarian supplies,
which he cited from memory as 20,000 MT wheat, 20,000 MT
flour, and 1 million loaves of bread/day. The Ambassador
praised Kuwait's role in establishing the Humanitarian
Operations Center (HOC), whose formal inauguration he had
just attended. He also mentioned the Office of
Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), and
promised to introduce its head, LTG (Ret.) Jay Garner, to GOK
officials when he comes to Kuwait next week. Shaykh Sabah
was confident that Iraq, "the richest country in the Arab
world, and I'm not just talking about oil," could fund its
own reconstruction/development in the medium to long term.
He said he would contact his old friend Adnan Pachachi to
urge him to act for the greater good of Iraq. In the
Shaykh's view, what the Iraqi people need most is to feel
free; he argued against forcing our notions of democracy on
them too quickly.
(C) DEPLORING UNSC DISUNITY
7. (C) Shaykh Sabah lamented the disunity of the UN Security
Council, noting that Kuwait always wants international
organizations to be united: otherwise "the big fish are
eating the small fish." When the Ambassador assured him that
we are trying to strengthen the UN, but that we will proceed
with or without a new UNSCR, the Shaykh remarked that it is
far too late for us to back down now in any case. He said he
had liked UK FM Jack Straw's reply to his French counterpart.
France, he added, would be "crazy" if it vetoed the latest
8. (C) The Ambassador remarked that the "coalition of the
willing" is larger than many people realize: it includes not
only the UK and Australia, but the Czechs, Slovaks, Poles,
Romanians, Ukrainians, and perhaps the Bulgarians and
Albanians, not to mention the countries of the region that
are allowing use of facilities. Shaykh Sabah remarked that
the GOK had given permission to the Ukrainians. (This has
not yet filtered down to the working level, however, since
Ukrainian Ambassador reports he still does not have
confirmation of Kuwaiti acceptance of the Ukrainian draft
9. (C) COMMENT: Shaykh Sabah's bottom line was pretty
clear: move quickly, get rid of Saddam and his regime, then
give Iraq back to the Iraqis as soon as possible, without
trying to mold it in our image. On support for Jordan, the
key appears to be a specific GOJ request at the highest level.