|04KUWAIT3190||2004-09-15 13:28:00||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 KUWAIT 003190
1. (U) In a forty-five minute meeting on September 15, the
morning after arrival in country, Ambassador LeBaron
presented copies of credentials to Foreign Minister Shaikh
Muhammad Al-Sabah. The Foreign Minister was joined by
Undersecretary Khalid Jarallah, Office Director Shaikh Ahmad
Al-Sabah, and the Acting Chief of Protocol. Ambassador
LeBaron was accompanied by DCM.
2. (C) Shaikh Muhammad did not stand on ceremony and engaged
at length in informal discussion of issues of interest,
including a readout of the just concluded Arab League Foreign
Ministers meeting in Cairo. He credited Jordan and the GCC
states with beating back a strong Syrian push to criticize
UNSCR 1559. It was unacceptable, he said, to undermine UNSC
resolutions, but he noted that Kuwait and others thought 1559
bordered on an intrusion into internal political affairs in
Lebanon and that a three-year extension of the term of office
of the Lebanese president did not rise to a "threat to
international peace and security". The Iraqi Foreign
Minister had made a good presentation and received support
for his call on neighboring states to refrain from meddling
in Iraqi affairs. Darfur had been discussed as had the
Arab-Israeli issue, with little to report.
3. (C) The Foreign Minister termed himself an optimist on
Iraq but said he did not believe the current situation boded
well for holding elections in January. For elections to have
a positive outcome, there needed to be social peace and a
greater atmosphere of trust among competing groups. From his
perspective, Iraqi ethnic and sectarian groups were still
drawing lines and fighting for turf and were not ready to
craft a common national agenda. This was nothing new for
Iraq though. Shaikh Muhammad thought it would be difficult
to impose another model on the reality of Iraqi society.
Nonetheless, Kuwait was working hard to support the IIG,
thought PM Allawi was on the right track, and had recently
allocated $65 million for school and hospital projects with
$5 million earmarked for Najaf. Retired Chief of Staff
General Ali al-Mumin, head of the Kuwait Humanitarian
Operations Center, would be traveling to Najaf to oversee
projects there. The GOK viewed Sistani as a moderating
influence and applauded the efforts of Allawi to starve
Muqtada al-Sadr of "political oxygen".
4. (C) In welcoming the Ambassador to Kuwait and encouraging
enjoyment of Kuwaiti hospitality and openness, Shaikh
Muhammad said the Ambassador would hear a lot of strong views
against the Jazeera Satellite Channel. U.S. counterterrorism
focus was on those "holding the guns" but not enough
attention was being paid to those conveying a message of
hatred, and al-Jazeera was a major source of the hatred that
led young men into terrorist activity. The GOK made its
views known to the Qatari leadership, but saw no change.
5. (C) Shaikh Muhammad said he would be leaving for New York
on September 17 and looked forward to seeing the Secretary in
the meeting with GCC FM's. He indicated some confusion about
substantive agenda for the proposed September 24 G8 Ministers
meeting with regional Foreign Minsters. DCM noted that oral
invitation and non-paper on agenda had been passed to MFA
Americas Director Khalid Babtain and that it was our hope
that Shaikh Muhammad would accept the invitation to intend.
6. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.