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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03SANAA2337 2003-09-17 13:19:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Sanaa
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR'S 9/16 MEETING WITH FM QIRBI: IRAQ;

Tags:   PREL PGOV IZ YM KICC 
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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 SANAA 002337 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/16/2010
TAGS: PREL PGOV IZ YM KICC
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S 9/16 MEETING WITH FM QIRBI: IRAQ;
ARTICLE 98; DIPLOMATIC POUCH

REF: SANAA 1450

Classified By: Ambassador Edmund J. Hull for reasons 1.5 (d)



1. (C) Summary: In a 9/16 meeting with Ambassador, FM Qirbi
said Yemen would welcome a visit by the Iraqi Governing
Council "at any time." He expressed Yemeni support for early
return of Iraqi sovereignty, and proposed a dialogue to
engage AL member states constructively in the process. Qirbi
suggested a meeting between the Arab Group and Secretary
Powell on the margins of the UNGA as a possible way to open
such a dialogue. In response to Ambassador's push for Yemeni
action on Article 98, Qirbi offered no substantive reply but
said he would be prepared to re-engage on the issue soon.
After detailed discussion of the failed 8/31 diplomatic
support flight, Qirbi agreed to a return flight on 10/5 and
pledged full Yemeni support. Action requests paras 8 and 11.
End Summary.



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


Yemen Days


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





2. (C) Ambassador began by briefing Qirbi on the success of
the 9/4-5 Yemen Days cultural festival at the Smithsonian,
which drew crowds far in excess of expectations. On the
margins of the event Yemeni Human Rights Minister al-Soswa
and former PM al-Iryani had productive meetings with senior
U.S. officials, and a Yemeni business delegation also had
useful contacts.



3. (C) Qirbi hailed the Yemen Days event as a significant
step toward correcting Yemen's undeserved negative image.
Later in the meeting he also expressed the ROYG's protest at
the extreme delays and harsh treatment some of the Yemeni
businessmen received at Dulles Airport. Ambassador
underscored efforts the Department made to ensure smooth
airport transit for people and materiel arriving in
Washington for Yemen Days, and apologized for the delays and
hassles that did occur. He pledged that the Embassy would in
future redouble its effort to avoid security-related delays
for Yemeni officials and others visiting the United States at
USG invitation, but that the continuing need for heightened
homeland security made this difficult to guarantee.



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



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


Iraq: Door is Open for IGC Visit to Yemen


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



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





4. (C) Ambassador noted that Deputy Secretary Armitage had
raised the recent postponement of a planned visit to Yemen by
representatives of the Iraqi Governing Council. Qirbi said
the delay had come from the Iraqi side as a result of
internal political developments and security issues. Qirbi
stressed that "they are welcome at any time," and that
Yemen's embassy in Baghdad was prepared to coordinate
scheduling. Qirbi said he understood the IGC was studying an
early visit to Qatar, Yemen and Sudan.



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



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


Qirbi: Need for U.S.-AL Dialogue on Iraq


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



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





5. (C) Qirbi expressed satisfaction with the decision by the
Arab League ministerial to seat Iraqi FM Zebari. Qirbi said
he had useful discussions with Zebari in Cairo, and said he
hoped AL acceptance would help the IGC "get things moving" in
Iraq. Yemen's position is not mere acceptance of the interim
Iraqi government, but active support for constructive
measures to hasten the return of full Iraqi sovereignty.
This is because ROYG sees the integrity and stability of Iraq
as crucial for the stability of the region.



6. (C) Accordingly, said Qirbi, now that the IGC has received
"universal recognition by the Arabs" the time has come for
dialogue on Iraq between AL members and the occupying
authorities in Iraq. He observed that the Secretary's
remarks in Baghdad, especially on the need for a UN role, had
been positive, but argued that international engagement
should include a role for the Arab League. The coalition
should engage the Arabs in advancing the return of
sovereignty, said Qirbi, and aim to keep shared national
objectives, rather than narrow ethnic or religious
affiliations, at the forefront of the process inside Iraq.



7. (C) Qirbi suggested that one possible framework for
opening such a dialogue would be a meeting between the Arab
Group and Secretary Powell on the margins of the UNGA. In
addition, Saleh might raise it with CINC Abizaid on his
(9/20) visit to Yemen.



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


USG Visits to Yemen


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





8. (C) Ambassador briefed Qirbi on upcoming visits to Yemen
by CINC Abizaid (9/20), FBI Director Mueller (9/28) and
possibly NEA A/S Burns (10/3 or 4). FM Qirbi welcomed the
visits, but noted that he would not return from the UNGA
until 10/4, and asked that A/S Burns coordinate his timing to
allow for that return.



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


Diplomatic Pouch/Support Flights


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





9. (C) Ambassador expressed serious USG concern over Yemen's
non-cooperation with the 8/31 diplomatic support flight,
stressing that Deputy Secretary Armitage had raised the issue
with Iryani in Washington. After extended discussion, Qirbi
agreed to the scheduling of a return flight on 10/5 and
pledged full Yemeni cooperation.



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



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


Article 98: ROYG Still reviewing Options


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



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





10. (C) The Ambassador urged Qirbi to focus actively on the
ICC issue and move quickly toward concluding an Article 98
agreement. He stressed the need for this important follow-up
to U/S Bolton's June visit. Qirbi noted that the Yemeni
Parliament had not ratified the ICC convention, and said the
ROYG was still reviewing the materials provided by Embassy
Sanaa (reftel and previous). He undertook to renew
discussion of the issue soon with Ambassador. (Note: In a
9/15 meeting with DCM, MFA Under Secretary Hussein Taher bin
Yahia noted that "several levels" of the ROYG were studying
the Article 98 question. He indicated that some were
concerned at the obviously one-sided benefit that such an
agreement would impart, but predicted movement in the near
term. End Note.)



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


Comment


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





11. (C) Despite Yemen's limited regional influence, FM Qirbi
has made positive efforts on Iraq, including advocacy leading
to the AL decision to seat the Iraqi delegation. We believe
his proposal of a NY meeting to engage Arab states
constructively in Iraq is sincere and well intended. We
recommend serious consideration and welcome feedback.

HULL