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04KUWAIT2274 2004-07-21 07:18:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kuwait
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210718Z Jul 04
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 002274 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/18/2014

Classified By: Ambassador Richard H. Jones for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: Deputy Secretary Armitage met with Acting
Prime Minister and Interior Minister Shaykh Nawaf al-Ahmed
al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other Kuwaiti Ministers on July 18.
The Deputy Secretary took the opportunity to discuss the
overall situation in Iraq, soliciting Shaykh Nawaf's views on
the future of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti bilateral relationship, the
stability of Saudi Arabia, the upcoming visit of Iraq Prime
Minister Iyad Allawi to Kuwait and the fate of the Kuwaiti
youths who had been returned to Kuwait after traveling to
Iraq to engage in "jihad." While reinforcing Kuwait's
commitment to a strong partnership with the United States,
the Minister of Defense reiterated concern that the U.S. not
provide advanced weapons systems to the new Iraqi armed
forces. The Minister of Finance pointed out that Kuwait had
never charged interest on the more than $6 billion in
outstanding loans Kuwait made to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. End

2. (U) Also present at the meeting were NEA A/S William Burns
and Ambassador Jones. Kuwaiti attendees included Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Shaykh Jaber Mubarak
al-Hamad al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
State for Cabinet Affairs and National Assembly Affairs
Mohammed Dhaifullah Sharar, Minister of Finance Mahmoud
al-Nouri, MFA Acting Undersecretary Ambassador Jassem
al-Amir, MFA IO Director Ambassador Abdullah al-Murad and MFA
Acting Americas Director Aiham al-Omar.

Bilateral Ties


3. (C) The Deputy Secretary and Acting Prime Minister and
Interior Minister Shaykh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah
reaffirmed the strong state of US-Kuwaiti bilateral relations
during their July 18 meeting. Shaykh Nawaf expressed his
thanks to Deputy Secretary Armitage for the role the US had
played in liberating the Iraqi people and removing the threat
of Saddam Hussein from the region. The Deputy Secretary
affirmed the US commitment to continued cooperation and
partnership with Kuwait, citing the designation of Kuwait as
a Major Non-NATO Ally as evidence of this pledge.



4. (C) The Acting PM noted that Kuwait had "stood with its
friends and allies" in the effort to remove the dictator, and
was now optimistic that the new government would lead Iraq in
a new direction. Shaykh Nawaf said the GOK was hopeful that
the Interim Iraqi Government (IIG) and its successors would
act to honor all UN Security Council Resolutions. On Iraqi
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi,s upcoming visit to Kuwait,
Shaykh Nawaf said the GOK expected that the PM would ask
Kuwait for "moral and financial support" for the IIG's
efforts to rebuild Iraqi society. He added that Kuwait would
be looking for a show of gratitude for its current and past
efforts to liberate and rebuild Iraq. A/S Burns added that
there would probably be some discussion of bilateral border
policy and security.

Kuwaiti 'Jihadists'


5. (C) Responding to the Deputy Secretary's question, Shaykh
Nawaf gave a brief rundown on the case of the Kuwaiti
'jihadists' who had traveled to Iraq and had recently
returned to Kuwait. He said that four Kuwaiti youths between
the ages of 18 and 19 had entered Syria -- ostensibly for
tourism -- and had been planning to enter Iraq to engage in
"jihad" against coalition forces. The Kuwaiti MOI had been
alerted when a concerned parent of a fifth Kuwaiti youth had
contacted the Ministry after learning of the plan. Shaykh
Nawaf said the four who had entered Syria had surrendered to
the Kuwaiti Embassy and all have been "transferred to the
courts." Shaykh Nawaf said it is clear that they are not
part of any organization, but were acting as individuals. He
added that while they do not pose any threat, there is an
investigation underway; he pledged that the results of this
investigation would be passed to the relevant authorities in
the US Embassy.

6. (C) Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sharar added
that Kuwait was doing everything possible to combat
terrorism. He noted that the central Bank of Kuwait was
keeping a close eye on Kuwait's religious charities. Sharar
said the GOK takes fighting terrorism seriously, but must
work against foreign elements that influence some Kuwaiti
individuals. Taking great pains to stress Shaykh Nawaf's
point, he denied that there are any organized terrorist group
operating in Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia


7. (C) Stating that the USG was concerned that terrorist
elements might easily spill over the Saudi/Iraqi border, the
Deputy Secretary asked Shaykh Nawaf for his thoughts on the
stability of the Saudi regime. The Acting PM said the GOK
had heard that the SAG was uncomfortable with the recent
outbreak of domestic violence. He quoted Saudi Prince Khaled
al-Faisal -- whom he had seen on Al-Arabiya -- as stating
that terrorists had entered "every aspect" of Saudi society,
and that the KSA was facing an "awful situation." Shaykh
Nawaf said the KSA was taking steps to combat the terrorists,
including sharing security information with its GCC partners.
He stressed that Kuwait's borders were firmly under the
control of its security forces.

Iraqi Army


8. (C) Minister of Defense Shaykh Jaber Mubarak expressed
his gratitude for the US and the cooperative relationship the
US and Kuwait had shared in the "great battle" to rid the
world of Saddam Hussein. He said the two countries are now
facing a new battle to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi
people, who have been raised to "hate Kuwait and the US."
Bearing this in mind, the MinDef said Kuwait had a great
interest in ensuring that the new Iraqi Army be kept small
and that it would not be equipped with "sophisticated"
weapons systems. The Deputy Secretary indicated he
understood Kuwait's concerns.

Iraqi Debt/Reparations


9. (C) Minister of Finance al-Nouri raised the issues of Gulf
War compensation and Iraq's debts to Kuwait by stating that
he had been speaking with his Iraqi counterpart. He pointed
out that Kuwait had never charged interest on the more than
$6 billion in outstanding loans it had made to Saddam's
regime. He asked that the US raise this in its consultations
on compensation. (Note: Deputy Secretary Armitage also
discussed the issue of compensation with MFA IO Director
Ambassador al-Murad while waiting to see Shaykh Nawaf. The
Deputy Secretary noted that the USG was still committed to
the current 5% allocation of Iraqi oil revenues to the UNCC,
but pointed out that the IIG would most likely want to
re-open the issue soon. Ambassador al-Murad said Kuwait had
not spoken with Iraq on the issue, as they preferred not to
bring attention to it. End Note.) The Deputy Secretary said
he would remind Iraq of Kuwait's generosity in his upcoming
meetings in Baghdad.