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05RABAT2500 2005-12-15 12:11:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rabat
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1. (C) Polcouns discussed reftel demarche with Hassan Hami,
MFA Arab Affairs Division Chief, on December 13, and sent
additional copies of the statements by the President and
Secretary Rice to MFA Acting Director of Arab Affairs

Abdelghani Bellaaziri, who was unavailable. Hami noted that
he had seen the statements by the President and Secretary
Rice, but offered no comment on how the GOM would react.
Polcouns stressed that this was an act of terror, and the US
encouraged the GOM and other countries of the region to
condemn it.

2. (SBU) As of December 15, the GOM has made no official
comment on the assassination or the Mehlis report. Several
French and Arabic-language dailies carried the Tueni
assassination on the front pages on December 13, including
semi-official daily Le Matin, which described the Tueni
killed as "barbaric." Subsequent media reporting on the
killing is generally factual, drawing primarily from news
agencies AFP and Reuters.

3. (SBU) Editorialists are cautiously noting that "Syria may
be implicated" in the Tueni assassination, but most
commentators have so far generally refrained from pushing
that link strongly. The only opinion piece printed so far
appears in a December 15 editorial in left-leaning Bayane Al
Youm, affiliated with the Party of Progressive Socialism.
The editorial is an open letter to Druze leader Walid
Jumblatt, which castigates him for his alleged hypocrisy for
rushing to blame Syria "when Syria is being targeted by the
US, France, and Israel," and when "you were just recently one
of Syria's closest allies."