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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04KUWAIT2050 2004-07-06 10:52:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

(C) SCENESETTER FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE'S

Tags:   PREL MARR PTER PGOV KJUS KISL IZ KU 
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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 002050 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

STATE FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE
STATE ALSO FOR NEA/FO, NEA/I, NEA/ARP, T, PM, S/CT, S/WCI
TEL AVIV FOR DCM LEBARON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6X1 AND X4
TAGS: PREL MARR PTER PGOV KJUS KISL IZ KU
SUBJECT: (C) SCENESETTER FOR DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE'S
VISIT

REF: A. KUWAIT 1227 (NOTAL)

B. KUWAIT 1380 (NOTAL)

C. KUWAIT 1500 (NOTAL)

D. KUWAIT 1731 (NOTAL)

E. KUWAIT 2018 (NOTAL)

Classified By: AMBASSADOR RICHARD H. JONES; REASONS 1.6X1 and X4, 1.4 (
A, B, D).



1. (S/NF) Mr. Secretary, Welcome back to Kuwait. MFA is
working to arrange a meeting with Information Minister
Mohammed Abulhassan, who is expected to be the Acting Foreign
Minister at the time of your visit (both the Prime Minister
and Foreign Minister are expected to be out of the country).
Abulhassan is a liberal and the only Shiite in the Cabinet;
as longtime PermRep in New York, he worked closely with Prime
Minister Shaykh Sabah, who was Foreign Minister for nearly
forty years until a year ago. Since your last visit April
19(refs A, B), there has been movement on several issues
pertinent to the bilateral relationship: DNSA Fran Townsend
delivered a strong message May 4 on the need for more
aggressive action against extremists; the GOK informed us
June 30 that from now on it will charge us for fuel supplied
to our forces for Iraq operations; the GOK submitted the
Article 98 agreement to the National Assembly for
ratification but promised to ratify it by Amiri decree when
the parliament recessed for the summer; the GOK welcomed a US
offer to transfer one Kuwaiti detainee from Guantanamo, but
wants all twelve back; Kuwait welcomed our transfer of
sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government; and Kuwaitis
were reminded again of the benefits of our strong bilateral
cooperation when Saddam Hussein and top figures from his
regime appeared in an Iraqi court.



2. (S/NF) COUNTER-TERRORISM: the GOK has been slow to grasp
the extent of the threat from Kuwaiti Sunni extremists, some
of whom are reportedly funding insurgents in Iraq and even
recruiting young Kuwaitis to go fight. Kuwait State Security
(KSS) currently suffers from weak leadership and remains
constrained by legal restrictions (although the GOK has been
fully cooperative with US and UN requests to freeze bank
accounts suspected of involvement in terrorist finance,
funding insurgents abroad is not yet seen as being a crime in
Kuwait). The Prime Minister was not happy to receive Ms.
Townsend's message; he insisted that the GOK is following the
right approach by monitoring extremists and trying to
persuade them to eschew violence. The GOK even arranged a
face-to-face meeting between an Embassy officer and a
prominent extremist whom Ms. Townsend had mentioned by name;
the extremist claimed to oppose violence in Kuwait but made
it clear that he would be prepared to harm Americans under
certain circumstances (ref D).



3. (S/NF) FUEL FOR OIF: In addition to providing the
indispensable platform for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF),
Kuwait has supplied free-of-charge unlimited fuel for OIF
forces: over $450 million worth in 2003 (compared to $8
million in 2002), and continuing at the rate of approximately
1.2 million gallons/day. Following the transfer of sovereign
authority to the Iraqi Interim Government, the GOK informed
us that it would keep supplying fuel for OIF but would charge
us for it starting June 29, 2004 (ref E). Assistant
Secretary of Defense Rodman has recommended to SecDef that

SIPDIS
the Iraqi Interim Government be requested to ask the GOK to
continue providing the fuel free-of-charge on its behalf. We
strongly doubt the GOK would respond positively to such a
request. Kuwaitis still remember all too well what happened
the last time they acceded to an Iraqi request to provide oil
on its behalf.



4. (C) ARTICLE 98: the Prime Minister told you April 19
that the Article 98 agreement signed on June 18, 2003 could
be brought into force without parliamentary ratification (ref
B). However, since then, the Cabinet Legal Committee has
concluded that parliamentary ratification is required, and
the agreement has been submitted to the National Assembly.
Parliament adjourned without acting on the matter.
Nonetheless, the Foreign Minister had promised us that the
GOK would bring the agreement into force by means of an Amiri
decree during the parliamentary summer recess, which began on
June 30. We are awaiting that decree. (NOTES: (a) any such
decree will need to be submitted to the National Assembly for
approval once it reconvenes in October; there is no deadline
for the Assembly to act on it; (b) we treat the existence of
the agreement as Confidential, because it has never been
publicly confirmed by the GOK. END NOTES.)



5. (C) GUANTANAMO: Twelve Kuwaitis are among the detainees
at Guantanamo, and one of them is a party in a case that made
it to the US Supreme Court, which ruled that detainees have
the right to challenge their detention in the US courts.
Washington recently informed the GOK that it was prepared to
transfer one of the Kuwaitis to GOK custody; the GOK wants
them all back, and says it would be prepared to prosecute
them.



6. (C) IRAQ: the GOK continues to be a strong supporter of
the Iraqi political transition process. Despite being irked
that Prime Minister Allawi omitted Kuwait from the list of
countries he thanked for their support, Prime Minister Shaykh
Sabah made clear that would not be allowed to mar relations.
The appearance in an Iraqi court of Saddam Hussein and
several other top officials of the former regime, including
"Chemical Ali," reminded Kuwaitis of the threat that regime
had posed and the service we have done to their country and
the region by eliminating it. A Kuwaiti lawyer appointed by
the GOK is assisting the Iraqi Special Tribunal process.



7. (SBU) IPR: In his capacity as Information Minister,
Abulhassan shares responsibility for IPR protection. Kuwait
has one of the worst IPR records in the Gulf, according to
industry sources and USTR. At the Embassy's recommendation,
Kuwait was placed on the Special 301 Priority Watch List this
year. It would be helpful if you stressed that effective
protection of IPR is central to the success of the Trade and
Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) signed in March, which
both sides see as the first step towards a Free Trade
Agreement. Minister Abulhassan told the Ambassador July 5
that the GOK is committed to getting off the Priority Watch
List this year.
JONES