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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05ABUDHABI5129 2005-12-20 13:56:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abu Dhabi
Cable title:  

GCC SUMMIT COMMUNIQUE: IRAN ESCAPES CONDEMNATION

Tags:   PREL PTER KNNP KPAL IR IZ SY LE IS AE 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABU DHABI 005129 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/19/2010
TAGS: PREL PTER KNNP KPAL IR IZ SY LE IS AE
SUBJECT: GCC SUMMIT COMMUNIQUE: IRAN ESCAPES CONDEMNATION

REF: A. ABU DHABI 5079

B. ABU DHABI 5038

ABU DHABI 00005129 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: CDA Martin R. Quinn, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: The Gulf Cooperation Council concluded its
29th annual summit in Abu Dhabi December 19 by expressing
support for Iraq's December 15 elections, condemning the
assassinations of "Lebanese symbols and leaders," calling for
a Middle East weapons of mass destruction-free zone, and
urging Israel to join the Nonproliferation Treaty. The GCC
also renewed its support for regional and international
counterterrorism efforts, and reiterated its position in
favor of the establishment of an independent Palestinian
state. Absent from the GCC's closing statement was any
specific mention of Iran's nuclear power program, its
interference in Iraq's internal affairs, or Syria's role in
Lebanon. Despite the final statement's silence on Iran, the
UAE foreign minister did speak directly to the press to
express the GCC,s "legitimate fear" concerning Iran's
nuclear program. End Summary.

Iraq


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





2. (U) The GCC welcomed Iraq's parliamentary elections and
expressed hope that the elections would contribute to
stability and sovereignty, and help Iraq return as an "active
member of the Arab and international family" and live in
peace with its neighbors. The GCC condemned the terrorist
acts against civilians, humanitarian, and religious
organizations, and denounced the "deliberate, systematic
killings of Iraqis, Kuwaiti prisoners and detainees, peoples
of other nationalities and unearthed mass graves -) which
were committed by the former Iraqi regime )- in a flagrant
violation of human rights, Islamic and Arab principles,
ethics, and values." GCC Secretary General Al Attiyah told
the press that the GCC reaffirmed its support for the
reconstruction of Iraq.

Iran


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





3. (U) Absent from the GCC final statement was any specific
mention of Iran's nuclear program beyond support for a Middle
East WMD-free zone or Iran's interference in Iraq's internal
affairs, despite having voiced worries at Tehran's nuclear
ambitions during the two-day summit. Al Attiyah told the
press during the summit that the GCC would discuss ways of
enhancing ties with Iran in the spirit of Islamic fraternity
and friendship. He added that efforts aimed at achieving
security and stability in the region were continuing, and the
GCC would not take a stance against Iran.



4. (U) Before, during, and after the summit, the local
English press, in particular, magnified the Iran issue as
though it were the major item on the GCC's agenda. There
were days when Iran was depicted as a threat, and other days
when it wasn't. Monday's press, for example, carried an
interview with Al Attiyah in which he said, "We in the Gulf
region are not worried about Iran's nuclear program. ... It's
not worrisome as long as it is restricted to peaceful use."
Nonetheless, if Iran does not limit its nuclear program to
peaceful applications, the issue "will not be neglected" by
the GCC, he said.



5. (U) By Tuesday, the top story in the "Gulf News" was
entitled "GCC fears Iran nuclear activities." The article
quoted UAE Foreign Minister Rashid Abdullah Al Noaimi as
saying that the GCC had "a legitimate fear" of Iran's nuclear
program, focusing mainly on environmental concerns. "The GCC
states are very close to the Iranian nuclear reactor in
Bushehr and don't have the necessary protection in case of
radioactive leakage," he said. "Gulf Today" quoted an Abu
Dhabi-based analyst as saying that the Bushehr facility "is
closer to the region than to the Iranian capital, Tehran."
Gulf countries demanded environmental "guarantees and
protections" from the Iranian nuclear power plant, Al Noaimi
said.



6. (U) "Gulf News" also reported a letter sent to the GCC by
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa criticizing the GCC
position on Iran's nuclear program. Moussa reportedly urged
the GCC to "support" the Iranian position and "focus more" on
Israel's nuclear program. Al Noaimi reportedly told the
press that the GCC shared Moussa's worries over the Israeli
nuclear program, "but in the Gulf, we have fears and worries
from the Iranian program." In a December 20 op-ed in the
Arabic, semi-official, "Al Ittihad," the Abu Dhabi-based
think tank Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research

ABU DHABI 00005129 002.2 OF 003


(ECSSR), which closely reflects UAEG positions, sua| +QBQQ7$lUQ{O,q
to help end U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Iran/UAE Islands Dispute


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





8. (U) As expected, the GCC reiterated its support for the
UAE's sovereignty of its three islands of Abu Musa and
Greater and Lesser Tunbs and expressed regret that contacts
with Iran have not yielded a settlement. The leaders said
they would continue to consider all peaceful means to restore
the UAE's right to the three islands. They hoped that Iran
would respond to the efforts by the UAE and the international
community for reaching a settlement, including referral of
the issue to the International Court of Justice.

Lebanon/Syria


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





9. (U) As with the Iran nuclear issue, the GCC's final
communiqu did not condemn Syria, even though some delegates
had said Syria's disagreement with the UN over the Mehlis
Report would be high on the summit agenda. Instead, the GCC
denounced the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq
Hariri and the recent assassinations of Lebanese politicians
and journalists. It condemned Israel's attacks on Lebanon,
and urged the Lebanese to "patch up the rift" in order to
safeguard unity of their country. The GCC expressed
satisfaction at Syria's acceptance of United Nations Security
Council's resolution 1644 related to the international
investigation panel. "Gulf News" noted that the Amr Moussa
letter to the GCC accused the GCC of "exerting undue pressure
on Syria" and blaming it for killing Hariri.

Middle East Peace


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





10. (U) The GCC hailed the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip
and some settlements in the West Bank as "a step in the right
direction, but hoped it would be followed by a complete
pullout from all the occupied Palestinian territories" in
order to pave the way for the establishment of an independent
Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. The GCC
reiterated its members' adherence to the Arab peace
initiative approved by the 2002 Arab summit in Beirut, and
emphasized the integration of this initiative with the
Roadmap. The council also stressed the importance of Israeli
withdrawal from the Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms in
southern Lebanon.

Middle East WMD-Free Zone


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





11. (U) The council demanded that Israel join the nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty and "open all its nuclear facilities
to international inspection by the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA)." GCC leaders appealed to the
international community to pressure Israel to comply. They
also called for a Middle East nuclear weapons free zone. In
a recent statement, Al Attiyah said Iran's nuclear ambitions
pose a threat to member countries of the GCC and NATO, and
called on NATO to press for the elimination of nuclear arms
in the Gulf region so that it does not get "sandwiched"
between Israel and Iran. Al Attiyah said there would soon be
an announcement of the creation of a WMD-free zone involving
GCC states, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen.

Other Summit Outcomes


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





12. (U) According to the final statement, the GCC leaders

ABU DHABI 00005129 003.2 OF 003


also agreed to:

-- ratify a deal to create a European-style monetary union,
but did not set a date for it to go into effect.

-- support efforts aimed at setting up a task force, under
the UN aegis, for studying the recommendations related to the
Saudi proposal for establishing an international
anti-terrorism center.

-- reiterate its denunciation of terrorist acts and underline
the need for concerted world action to stand against acts of
terror.

-- allow interior ministers to sign an agreement on
extradition of convicts.

-- endorse a document on standard trade policy aimed at
unifying foreign trade policies of the GCC countries to
enable them to deal with the outside world as a single
economic bloc.

-- fund development projects in Yemen and hold a conference
to explore investment opportunities in Yemen.

Comment:


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





13. (C) As we expected, the GCC in its closing statement
opted for a generic call for a Middle East WMD-free zone as
opposed to a specific statement on Iran's nuclear program.
It also did not include any condemnation of Iranian President
Ahmadinejad's recent statements about Israel and the
Holocaust. There was, likewise, no official condemnation of
Syria. Instead, the GCC focused on Israel's failure to join
the NPT. Thus, in the end, the GCC showed deference to
concerns expressed by Amr Moussa. In that context, UAE
Foreign Minister Al Noaimi's statements to the press
expressing apprehension about Iran's nuclear program, couched
in terms of fear of nuclear fallout in case of a reactor
accident, showed a degree of courage. There was speculation
among diplomats that Iran dominated the talks behind closed
doors. There was also speculation that discussion of local
issues accounted for the two-and-a-half-hour delay in
concluding the Summit. In any event, rather than explicitly
condemn the Iranian regime, the GCC leaders opted for a more
generic approach.
QUINN