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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03SANAA2476
2003-10-10 08:25:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Sanaa
Cable title:  

NEA A/S BURNS' 10/4/03 MEETING WITH FM QIRBI: CT

Tags:   PREL  PTER  AMGT  EAID  PARM  MCAP  SA  YM  IZ  ICC  COUNTER  TERRORISM  DEMOCRATIC  REFORM  ECON  COM 
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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 03 SANAA 002476 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/09/2013
TAGS: PREL PTER AMGT EAID PARM MCAP SA YM IZ ICC COUNTER TERRORISM DEMOCRATIC REFORM ECON COM
SUBJECT: NEA A/S BURNS' 10/4/03 MEETING WITH FM QIRBI: CT
COOPERATION; ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE; HOA; ARTICLE 98; DIP
POUCH/FLIGHTS

REF: A. SANAA 2440


B. SANAA 2410

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

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SANAA 002476

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/09/2013
TAGS: PREL PTER AMGT EAID PARM MCAP SA YM IZ ICC COUNTER TERRORISM DEMOCRATIC REFORM ECON COM
SUBJECT: NEA A/S BURNS' 10/4/03 MEETING WITH FM QIRBI: CT
COOPERATION; ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE; HOA; ARTICLE 98; DIP
POUCH/FLIGHTS

REF: A. SANAA 2440


B. SANAA 2410

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


1. (C) Summary: During a 10/4/03 call on FM Qirbi, NEA A/S
Burns reviewed U.S.-Yemeni CT cooperation and focused on U.S.
development assistance. Burns stressed the need for Yemen to
pursue domestic reforms as the U.S. works to increase
assistance, e.g. via MEPI and, if Yemen qualifies, the MCA.
Qirbi agreed on the need for reforms, particularly judiciary.
They reviewed Yemeni cooperation with the Gulf states and
interaction with the Horn of Africa. A/S Burns stressed the
need for an Article 98 agreement. Qirbi said ROYG
ratification of the Rome Statute was not imminent, and
undertook to work the Article 98 issue within the Cabinet.
Burns also underscored the need for Yemeni cooperation to
ensure success of Embassy Sanaa's 10/5 diplomatic support
flight, and Qirbi was supportive. On Iraq, Burns thanked
Qirbi for Yemen's support of AL recognition of the Iraqi
Governing Council (IGC), and they agreed on the need for
security and steps to place maximum authority in Iraqi hands.
Qirbi said the Palestine situation is still "worrisome" and
expressed concerns that U.S. presidential elections next year
would weaken efforts to implement the roadmap. Septels
report A/S Burns' meetings with President Saleh, other Yemeni
officials and NGOs. End summary.

YEMEN COMMITTED TO COUNTER-TERRORISM COOPERATION


2. (C) NEA A/S Burns, accompanied by Ambassador, DCM and
Pol/Econ Chief (notetaker) called on FM Abubaker al-Qirbi on

10/4/03 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Qirbi also
hosted a lunch iho A/S Burns later in the day.


3. (C) A/S Burns and Ambassador praised the ROYG's recent
success in apprehending a terrorist cell (ref a), but
stressed the need for Yemen to stay ahead of al-Qaida to
prevent it from reorganizing. Ambassador noted that the both
the A/S and GEN Abizaid met Central Security Force (CSF)
Chief of Staff COL Yahya Saleh and had paid informative
visits to the CSF range. Qirbi said that Yemen has
demonstrated a commitment to transparency and is no longer
trying to hide terrorist operations. He admitted there is
room for more progress on CT and mentioned the need for
training and logistical support, saying the ROYG is working
to track and arrest terrorists to eliminate Yemen as a
breeding ground for terrorism.


4. (C) On developing the Coast Guard, both A/S Burns and AMB
Hull emphasized the need not just for equipment, but for
training and developing the infrastructure to support
cost-efficient Coast Guard, Navy and commercial operations.

IMPROVED COOPERATION WITH SAUDI ARABIA; YEMEN SEEKS SUPPORT
FOR INCREASED ROLE IN GCC


5. (C) FM Qirbi said that Yemen and Saudi Arabia are starting
to see more "eye-to-eye" on the issue, resulting in
increasing cooperation and transparency after "shying away"
from issues of terrorism for the past several years. He
expressed hope that Yemen will be able to expand CT
cooperation to other Gulf states. Referring to the
Secretary's annual meeting with GCC Foreign Ministers during

SIPDIS
the UNGA, Qirbi asked that Yemen be included in such regional
contacts when the subject is counter-terrorism.


6. (C) Qirbi said that Qatar and Oman, and UAE to a lesser
degree, support a greater role for Yemen within the GCC.
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are less certain. Qirbi said his
goal for the next Gulf states summit in 12/03 is to push for
more economic development and freer markets, as well as
expanded acceptance of Yemeni workers in the Gulf states.
Yemeni labor is not a threat to security, he said.

DEVELOPING HOA RELATIONSHIPS TO PROMOTE REGIONAL STABILITY


7. (C) A/S Burns suggested that Yemen could assist the USG in
developing regional policy toward the Horn of Africa
countries to track with security cooperation already underway
with that region. Qirbi welcomed the idea, noting that Yemen
is affected by events in the Horn, and reviewed current
issues in the area. Refugees, mainly from Somalia and
Eritrea, affect economic conditions, political stability, and
social and health factors in Yemen. Qirbi expressed concern,
in particular, that the continuing lack of a government
Somalia could turn it into the next Afghanistan as a
terrorist haven.


8. (C) The FM identified Yemen's objectives in the region as
security -- especially enhanced CT cooperation -- and
economic/political cooperation. He observed that close
relations among Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia did not define an
"exclusive club," noting that Ethiopia was wooing Kenya and
he would invite Djibouti to closer coordination during a
pending visit.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: FOCUS ON JUDICIAL REFORM AND REDUCING
CORRUPTION


9. (C) Qirbi characterized development in Yemen's more remote
areas as "minuscule," and said Yemen is looking to MCA to
help it fund projects. He acknowledged that the ROYG must
tackle some issues in order to qualify, specifying judicial
reform, corruption and economic reform as areas "acceptable"
to the government and president Saleh for focus. A/S Burns
agreed on the need for reform. He stressed that progress
would enable the USG to do more on economic assistance.


10. (C) A/S Burns pointed out that Yemen has been the biggest
beneficiary of MEPI in the region and said the program could
expand in future. He acknowledged Yemen's progress on
democracy and the electoral process, but said there is still
a need to close holes in the process. FM Qirbi agreed.
Burns added that MEPI can be used as a bridge to MCA, and
that Yemen should set its sights on qualifying in 2005 -- an
ambitious but achievable goal.


11. (C) Qirbi agreed that qualifying for MCA is critical and
cited the need to encourage more private investment in Yemen.
He said previous attempts to stimulate investment had been
"futile," and that Yemen needs the expertise of the U.S. and
Europe to improve.

ARTICLE 98


12. (C) A/S Burns emphasized the need for Yemen to reach an
Article 98 agreement soon. He told Qirbi that 70 countries
have already entered into such agreements, including Egypt,
Kuwait and Morocco, and that those agreements offered several
possible models for a U.S.-Yemeni agreement. He reminded
Qirbi that ratification of the Rome Statute before completing
an Article 98 agreement would result in cessation of U.S.
assistance. Qirbi said that the Statute had been returned by
the Parliament to the government, so ratification would be
delayed. Recalling his meeting with PM Senior Adviser Bodine
during his recent U.S. visit, the FM said he had discussed
two possible options and Bodine had promised to send him a
third option for consideration as well. A/S Burns welcomed
Qirbi's active engagement on the Article 98 issue and urged
conclusion of an agreement by year's end. Qirbi promised to
consult internally with an eye to concluding and agreement
enshrined in an exchange of letters.

DIPLOMATIC POUCH/SUPPORT FLIGHTS


13. (C) Turning to Embassy Sanaa's scheduled diplomatic
support flight the following day (10/5), Ambassador stressed
the need to avoid a repetition of the failed 8/31 flight,
which cost the USG $70,000.00. A/S Burns underscored the
point, noting that expanding U.S. assistance programs
required reliable pouch and support flight services for the
Embassy. FM Qirbi agreed, noting that arrangements had been
coordinated with the Embassy and the MFA would have a
representative at the airport to smooth any difficulties.
(Note: The diplomatic support flight was off-loaded without
impediment or delay. End note.)

IRAQ: SECURITY AND SOVEREIGNTY


14. (C) Qirbi referred to the pending UNSCR on Iraq, agreeing
with A/S Burns that security was the immediate priority in
Iraq. He observed that Yemen and the USG have the same
objectives, including transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi
people and the writing of a new Iraqi constitution, and urged
the U.S. to be "flexible" in working toward those aims.
Burns expressed thanks for Qirbi's support of Arab League
acceptance of the IGC at its September ministerial in Cairo.


ISRAEL-PALESTINE: PRESSURE TO MAKE BOTH SIDES MEET OBLIGATIONS


15. (C) Qirbi said that the situation in Palestine is still
"worrisome," and that he is concerned that the focus will
shift away from the Israel-Palestine conflict in the run-up
to the 2004 U.S. presidential elections. He praised
President Bush as the first U.S. president to acknowledge
Palestinian's right to a state, and emphasized the need to
implement the roadmap. He said that the U.S. and Yemen need
to work together to make Palestine and Israel come around,
noting that Palestine can be "easily pressured" but Israel
will listen only to the U.S. Burns responded that the new PA
government will need to make tough choices to stop the
violence and Israel must adhere to its commitments.


16. (U) This cable was cleared by NEA A/S Burns.
HULL