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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06CAIRO603 2006-02-01 21:08:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
Cable title:  

SECURITY COORDINATOR LTG DAYTON DISCUSSES

Tags:   PREL PGOV PTER KPAL MOPS EG IS 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 000603 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER KPAL MOPS EG IS
SUBJECT: SECURITY COORDINATOR LTG DAYTON DISCUSSES
PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS AND BORDER SECURITY WITH GOE OFFICIALS

Classified by Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: U.S. Security Coordinator LTG Keith Dayton
and the Ambassador discussed the recent Hamas election
victory, Palestinian security, and Egyptian-Israeli border
security with Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit, Defense Minister
Tantawi, and Director of Military Intelligence Mowafi
February 1. The GOE officials all stressed that the Hamas
victory had come via a "democratic" process, and urged the
U.S. not to hurt the Palestinian voters and to find a way to
deal with Hamas. Tantawi affirmed Egypt's commitment to
working with Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces
despite the new complications. Aboul Gheit counseled against
putting too many irrevocable conditions on Hamas too quickly,
as that would run the risk of backing Hamas into a corner.
Aboul Gheit pressed LTG Dayton to keep funds flowing to the
Palestinian Authority, while Tantawi and Mowafi raised
Egypt's desire to persuade Israel to allow more Egyptian
troops along the Gaza border. LTG Dayton expressed USG
appreciation for Egypt's role in reorganizing the Palestinian
security forces and sought further coordination and
cooperation in the future. Noting U.S. legal and policy
restrictions on dealing with Hamas, LTG Dayton promised to
work for a long-term solution and to urge calm as the parties
adjust to the new political dynamic. End summary.



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


U.S. Must Deal With Hamas


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





2. (C) In separate meetings, Aboul Gheit, Tantawi, and
Mowafi pressed the U.S. to deal with Hamas. Tantawi urged
LTG Dayton (more than once) in their February 1 meeting to
find a way "now" to deal with Hamas. Tantawi acknowledged
that this would be difficult, but stressed that the Hamas
victory resulted from "democracy." Thus, he said, "all of
us, not just Egypt" must work with them. He also said that
supporting Abu Mazen would remain critical. Aboul Gheit
argued that Hamas can no longer "hide in the shadows, they
must take responsibility - put up or shut up." Hamas will
not achieve its goals by violence, he said, but must now
negotiate. For its part, Aboul Gheit continued, the U.S.
must be "fair" to Hamas and all Palestinians, the U.S. must
be engaged and help the Palestinians "come to their senses."
Aboul Gheit argued that the election outcome made it all the
more crucial that Palestinian security reorganization
continue and conclude with a united, organized national
security force answerable to the Palestinian President. He
expressed concern that, in their frustration at the election
outcome, Fatah may turn to violence and try to "out-Hamas"
Hamas.



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


Soothing Israel, Keeping the Money Flowing


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





3. (C) Tantawi asked the U.S. to encourage Israel to remain
calm and noted that Egypt would do the same. Aboul Gheit
asked the U.S. to "defuse Israeli defensiveness." "I assure
you," Aboul Gheit said, now that they have won the election
"you will see no more bullets from Hamas." It was important,
Aboul Gheit added, that Israel and the U.S. not put too many
"hasty conditions" on Hamas or back it into a corner.
Likewise, Aboul Gheit warned against immediately cutting off
funding to the Palestinians. So long as the transitional
government was still in office, the money - from Israel and
the donors - should keep coming, he said. Only when Hamas
comes into government should the funding situation be
re-examined. Aboul Gheit reported that Abu Mazen had said
that the Israelis would release NIS 200 million to the PA,
but Aboul Gheit could not confirm that this had happened.



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


Border Security


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





4. (C) Tantawi and Mowafi complained about periodic Israeli
criticism of Egypt regarding smuggling across the Gaza
border, suggesting that Egypt needed USG help to convince
Israel to permit an additional Egyptian battalion on the
Egyptian-Gaza border. After explaining that he had asked
Vice President Cheney during their January meeting to press
Israel to agree to the additional battalion, Tantawi asked
LTG Dayton to engage on this issue as well. Tantawi also
noted that President Mubarak would raise the issue with the
Israeli FM directly.



5. (C) LTG Dayton said to both Aboul Gheit and Tantawi that
the best response to the election outcome was patience and
calm. However, he also stressed that the USG could not and
would not work with Hamas if Hamas did not change its
approach to Israel. He pressed Egypt to work hard to make
Hamas understand that. LTG Dayton noted that it may take
time to convince Hamas of the way forward. He said he would
urge all parties to avoid overreacting in the near-term to
make progress over the long-term more likely. The vote for
Hamas, he observed, was a vote for change and reform, not a
vote for terror or an end to Israel. LTG Dayton also
expressed the USG's gratitude for Egypt's role in
reorganizing the Palestinian security forces and in
persuading the forces to emphasize their national (vice
factional) allegiance. Dayton said he welcomes continuing
engagement with the GOE since Egypt's involvement is critical
to the success of his mission.



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


Quartet


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





6. (C) The Ambassador told Aboul Gheit (after raising the
subject previously with EGIS, septel/notal) that the Quartet
had decided to invite Egypt (as well as Jordan and Saudi
Arabia) to the next round of envoy-level Quartet meetings
expected sometime in the coming weeks. The Quartet would
welcome an offer from Egypt to host those meetings, the
Ambassador added. Echoing EGIS Chief Soliman, Aboul Gheit
welcomed the prospect of a Quartet meeting in Egypt.



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


Directorate of Military Intelligence


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





7. (C) MG Mowafi spent much of his conversation with LTG
Dayton discussing Egyptian-Israeli military relations,
stating that the recent creation of two "operation centers"
between the two militaries along the Gaza border ("one at
Rafah, one at Kerem Shalom") was a hallmark of the improved
bilateral relationship. Nevertheless, Israel's withdrawal
from the border had left Egypt with an enormous
responsibility to ensure security and prevent smuggling.
Moreover, Palestinian security personnel on the other side of
the border, he said, were facilitating the smuggling. For
Egypt to manage this new situation, it would need an
additional 750 Border Guard Forces at the border. Mowafi
also noted that direct command-command communications with
the Israelis was not desirable, as such an arrangement would
lead to a "loss of control."
RICCIARDONE