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05MUSCAT241 2005-02-13 12:30:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Muscat
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MUSCAT 000241 




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 269653

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Muscat Counter-Terrorism Action Group
(CTAG) met on February 2 to outline, in preparation for the
April 29 CTAG meeting in London, key Omani
counter-terrorism(CT) needs, and to share details of
completed and planned CT assistance from G8 states. The CTAG
agreed on a list of gaps between needs and assistance and
recommendations on how these gaps might be filled. As in the
past, the U.S. and UK remain the most actively engaged G8
members in CT programs with the Sultanate of Oman. END

2. (U) On February 2, UK Ambassador Stuart Laing hosted a
meeting of the Muscat G8 Counter-Terrorism Action Group
(CTAG). In addition to the U.S. Ambassador, CTAG
participants included Marc Barety, French Ambassador; Hartmut
Blankenstein, German Ambassador; Vladimir Nosenko, Russian
Ambassador; Nobu Ebina, Japanese DCM; Tarek Chazli, Italian
DCM; Alicia Rico, Spanish DCM (at the UK's invitation); and
Charles Hill, UK DCM.




3. (SBU) In preparation for the April 29 CTAG meeting in
London, participants identified the following as current
Omani CT needs:

-- Additional maritime interdiction and VIP protection
training for the Royal Omani Police (ROP);
-- Equipment such as night vision goggles and training
facilities for the ROP;
-- Upgrades to coastal surveillance and enforcement
capabilities, including sensors, vessels, and communication
-- Enhanced interoperability between the Navy, ROP Coast
Guard (ROP-CG) and Air Force for coastal defense;
-- Closer government scrutiny of alternative remittance
systems such as hawalas and the Bangladeshi hundi system;
-- Potential technical assistance to the Central Bank in the
areas of banking supervision, reporting suspicious
transactions, coordinating with police agencies and improving
GCC-wide information sharing;
-- Regulation of informal lending societies, potential
vulnerabilities for terror networks;
-- Better public information policy;
-- Strengthening of the civil airport protection at Seeb
airport (Muscat); and
-- Increased ability to manage general disasters, including
the hospital access for mass causalities (there are 2080
hospital beds available in Muscat and 60 beds in the Military
Hospital in Salalah).






4. (SBU) Ambassador Laing described the UK impression that
while Oman was happy to accept assistance on a bilateral
basis, there was a reluctance to accept assistance provided
by multilateral organizations. The UK Ministry of Defense
continued to work with the Omanis on border management
issues, both maritime and terrestrial. RAF Nimrods continued
to fly over the Omani EEZ working with the Omani Navy and
ROP-CG to help interdict small boats from the Makran coast of
Pakistan. Those operations aimed to address interoperability
issues between those two services. The UK was also providing
training to the Omani Armed Forces on border management, VIP
protection, disaster management, young officer training, and
English Language Training through the work of the UK's loan
service personnel. The UK was hoping to do more work in the
future with the ROP. On transportation security, a UK
company had provided advice to the Omanis on compliance with
the International Maritime Organization's requirements for
enhanced port security (ISPS).

5. (SBU) The German Ambassador said that German training of
the police forces in Iraq and Afghanistan had taken priority,
with the result that so far no direct training had been
performed with the Omanis.

6. (SBU) The French Ambassador said that in 2004 they had
provided training for the ROP both in France and in Oman.
Three training sessions were completed: CT training for 20
policemen; crime scene training; and a VIP protection course
in St Malo for 2 ROP officers. Courses planned thus far for
2005 were on organization and management of a police
investigation in April; and advanced counter narcotics
training in October.

7. (SBU) The Spanish DCM said no direct equipment had been
provided in 2004, but in 2005 Spain was hoping to furnish
boats to the ROP-CG.

8. (SBU) The Italian DCM said that a bilateral MOU on
defense matters was signed in 2004 and that this covered some
CT elements. A joint naval exercise was aimed, in part, at
addressing the need for enhanced interoperability.

9. (SBU) The Japanese DCM said that in 2004 two ROP officers
had attended a policing seminar in Japan and two others took
part in a crime prevention seminar organized by the Japanese
International Cooperation Agency. There was a planned
seminar on international terrorism investigation in 2005.

10. (SBU) The Russian Ambassador said that no direct
assistance was provided in 2004, but that there were plans to
invite the ROP and Internal Security Service (ISS) to visit
Russia in 2005 to see the type of armaments and hi-tech
weapons that Russia could provide, and to start a wider
dialogue on the problems of international terrorism.

11. (SBU) The U.S. provided a non-paper listing assistance
that has been provided. Under anti-terrorism assistance the
US has completed activities with the ROP on mass casualty
emergency medical intervention; forensic science service unit
consultation (DNA); interdicting terrorist organizations; and
an explosive detector K-9/handlers precourse. In 2005 the US
has planned a senior crisis management seminar. Under
'export control activities' Omani officials have participated
in a senior policy exchange in the US that helped identify
challenges in Oman's export control system; and Omanis
participated in the Transportation Security Forum in Cairo
and the Global Transshipment Control Enforcement Seminar. In
2005 Omanis are scheduled to participate in WMD basic
training and a Legal Technical Forum on US and Omani legal
foundations for an export control system. Under
counter-terrorism/counter-narcotics programs, the US has
replaced the antenna for a maritime surveillance radar in the
Musandam peninsula and trained ROP-CG personnel in a fast
boat interdiction/interception capability.




12. (SBU) It was agreed that the CTAG group would continue
to coordinate to avoid duplication in the provision of
equipment and training. It was also agreed that as Chair,
the UK Ambassador would call on the MFA to discuss the GCC CT
Agreement; and on the Chairman of the Central Bank to
follow-up the Group's 2004 meeting with him on Oman's efforts
to counter terrorist financing and money laundering. As
Chair, the UK would circulate a draft report of the meeting
before sending it to London and would consult partners again
before the April and November meeting in case there was
further information that they wished to pass to those CTAG