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05MUSCAT1361 2005-09-07 15:10:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Muscat
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MUSCAT 001361 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/07/2015


B. SECSTATE 159137

C. SECSTATE 162250

D. MUSCAT 1355

E. MUSCAT 1345

Classified By: DCM William R. Stewart.
Reasons: 1.4 (b, d).


1. (C) The Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs expects Arab
League praise for the Gaza withdrawal and Iraq's
constitutional process, and a firm denunciation of terrorism.
The League will likely push for further implementation of
the Roadmap, and informally pressure Syria to improve its
cooperation with Lebanon, Iraq and the UN. The MFA does not
believe the Israeli Magen David Adom issue is on the agenda,
though the fallout from Hurricane Katrina could potentially
shift that debate. The time is not yet ripe either to reopen
the Israeli trade mission or put Omani diplomats in Baghdad,
but both events are "only a matter of time." End summary.

2. (U) In the absence of the Foreign Minister and MFA Arab
Affairs Department Chief, Pol/Econ Chief delivered ref A-C
demarches on September 7 to acting Arab Affairs Chief Salem
al-Rawahi and Arab League Affairs officer Khalid al-Zaidi,
who offered substantive responses to the subjects below.
Al-Rawahi noted that FM Yusuf bin Alawi had met with his GCC
FM colleagues on September 6, and would attend the Arab
League ministerial in Cairo on September 8. He undertook to
share our demarche points and non-papers with the Minister's
party in Cairo.




3. (C) Al-Rawahi said that the AL Ministerial agenda
currently stood at 22 separate items, with terrorism, Iraq,
and Israel/Palestine topping a list that also includes a
number of social and economic issues. He expects the AL to
strongly endorse Iraq's constitutional referendum and to call
on all Iraqis to take part in the peaceful political process.
He noted that the Arab League was likewise giving serious
consideration to opening an office in Baghdad. P/E Chief
underscored the need for greater effort by AL states in
stanching to flow of foreign fighters into Iraq. On
Omani-Iraqi ties, al-Rawahi said the Ministry has an
excellent working relationship with the Iraqi Ambassador and
embassy staff in Muscat, and would welcome any Iraqi
government visitors. He lamented, however, that the security
situation in Iraq was not yet conducive for staffing the
Omani Embassy in Baghdad, which had been damaged in an attack
earlier this year. Rawahi acknowledged USG efforts to
promote stability and security in Iraq, but raised concern
over growing allegations in the Arab media that Iraq's
territorial integrity was in question. He called for greater
USG and Iraqi public diplomacy to reassure the region that
Iraq would not be split into a number of mini-states.




4. (C) Predicting that the AL would voice strong support for
the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, al-Rawahi said there was
firm consensus on the need for further progress in
implementing the Roadmap. He understood that France and
Russia may also be ready to launch new initiatives in the
peace process (NFI). In light of the success of the Gaza
withdrawal, P/E Chief noted that it brought into further
relief the Palestinian Authority's urgent need for additional
support as it seeks to extend its governing authority,
including security, into the Gaza Strip. Highlighting the
USG's FY2005 assistance to the PA, he urged that the AL not
neglect the fact that the Gaza withdrawal makes further
support to the PA all the more important. Al-Rawahi
acknowledged the suggestion that Oman consider reopening the
Israeli Trade Office closed in 2000, saying he is personally
in favor but that he could not predict how soon Oman might
deem the timing appropriate. He stressed that Oman continues
to engage in periodic dialogue with the Israeli government.


Magen David Adom


5. (C) Echoing ref D comments by MFA International
Organizations Department Chief Ambassador Talib al-Raisi,
al-Rawahi said he did not believe the MDA issue was on the AL
Ministerial's agenda, though he said the AL Secretary General
could always choose to add it to the list on his own
authority. He thought that the AL had previously decided
that consideration of MDA's case should be deferred into the
future. P/E Chief pointed out the magnitude of humanitarian
relief operations following Hurricane Katrina, the Asian
Tsunami and other disasters made it plain that, in times of

need, no source of assistance should be rejected. In light
of the U.S. disaster, and the September 12-13 consultations
in Geneva, P/E Chief underscored that the Cairo Ministerial
offered the best opportunity for AL ministers to signal their
delegations in Geneva to finally resolve this long-overdue
matter. Rawahi agreed that Hurricane Katrina might further
sway Arab thinking on MDA.




6. (C) Responding to our talking points (refs A and B),
al-Rawahi confirmed ref D indications that Oman has no plans
for any high-level bilaterals with the Syrian delegation to
the UN Summit. He said the Syrians were certain to come
under fire in the AL for misdeeds that have come to UN
Security Council attention. He asked, however, if the USG
saw no positive steps by the Syrian government or any merit
in maintaining a dialogue with Damascus. P/E Chief said that
Syria's limited steps only put into starker relief how much
more it should be doing to halt the flood of combatants,
weapons, and smuggled goods pouring across its frontier with
Iraq. It also contrasted starkly with how effectively Syria
manages to seal its borders with Lebanon whenever it seeks to
pressure Beirut. Until Syria took concrete steps to fulfill
its international obligations and respect its neighbors,
there was little likelihood of high-level USG dialogue with


Terrorism, Reform


7. (C) Al-Rawahi expected a strong denunciation of terrorism
from the AL Ministerial. P/E Chief underscored the USG's
hope that the ministers could also provide further momentum
at the UNGA for achieving agreement on the UN Comprehensive
Convention on International Terrorism. Regarding political
reform, al-Rawahi noted Oman's attendance at the previous
Forums for the Future and assured that a delegation would
likewise attend the November event in Bahrain. He said the
Ministry had recently received an invitation from the
Bahraini government, and that the Minister would decide on
the composition of Oman's delegation after his return.