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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07MANAMA661 2007-07-16 14:05:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manama
Cable title:  

NDI REACHES AGREEMENT ON RESUMING PROGRAMMING IN

Tags:   PGOV PREL BA BILAT POL REFORM 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAMA 000661 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/15/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL BA BILAT POL REFORM
SUBJECT: NDI REACHES AGREEMENT ON RESUMING PROGRAMMING IN
BAHRAIN

REF: MANAMA 450

Classified By: Ambassador William T. Monroe for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).



1. (SBU) NDI reached agreement July 12 with the Bahrain
Institute for Political Development (BIPD) on a Statement of
Principles that will allow NDI to resume programming in
Bahrain more than a year after it was asked to close down its
office in the Kingdom. The agreement calls for NDI and BIPD
to enter into a six-month initial period of cooperation that
will begin in October 2007. NDI and BIPD tentatively agreed
on an initial program in October after Ramadan that will
focus on constituency relations. The text of the Statement
of Principles is in para 5.



2. (C) The agreement was signed during a July 11-12 visit to
Bahrain of NDI country project director Scott Bates and
regional program director Leigh Catherine Miles. The run-up
to the visit was inauspicious as it featured a series of
press reports in which BIPD Board of Directors President
Lulwa Al-Awadhi appeared to lay down rather strict conditions
under which NDI would be permitted to operate in Bahrain.
However, after Al-Awadhi presented a rather rigid document
for discussion at a July 11 meeting at BIPD headquarters,
Bates proposed that instead the two sides draft a simple
statement of basic principles on which their cooperation
would be based. Al-Awadhi agreed, as long as the document
contained a) a time period for cooperation, which could later
be extended; b) mention of the program on which they would
work jointly; and c) acknowledgment of respect for Bahrain's
laws and sovereignty. Working together, Bates, Miles,
Al-Awadhi, and BPD Executive Director Abdullah Al-Ashaal
drafted the statement and agreed that they would move forward
in the context of the principles.



3. (C) On July 12, Bates and Miles held positive meetings
with representatives of the three largest parliamentary blocs
to discuss NDI programming with the Council of
Representatives (COR). COR first deputy speaker and Al-Asala
(Salafi) president Ghanim Al-Buainain expressed support for
the return of NDI and said that MPs will benefit from the
type of programming Bates and Miles described. Al-Minbar
(Muslim Brotherhood) spokesman and public services committee
head Dr. Ali Ahmed, who recently returned from the
legislative drafting institute conducted by Tulane University
and whose trip was sponsored by NDI, welcomed the news that
BIPD and NDI had signed an agreement, reportedly saying that
the agreement clears the way for Al-Minbar MPs to participate
in NDI programs. Al-Wifaq members Jalal Fairooz and Dr.
Jasim Hussain, the latter of whom also attended the
legislative drafting institute with Ahmed, also welcomed the
return of NDI and looked forward to benefits from NDI
activities for them and their Al-Wifaq colleagues. Finally,
Bates and Miles met with independent Sunni and Economic and
Financial Affairs committee head Dr. Abdulaziz Abul, who was
optimistic about NDI's return and anticipated that MPs will
be eager to participate.



4. (C) Comment: The sharp press play in the run-up to the
visit demonstrated how sensitive NDI still is in certain
circles in Bahrain, and adds a cautionary note to the success
of this visit. NDI detractors will be watching it closely,
and Lulwa Al-Awadhi can be difficult to work with. That
said, this visit marked a very welcomed step forward in our
efforts to get NDI back in business in Bahrain, and we now do
have agreement to resume programming. Furthermore, the
support shown for NDI programming by the two Sunni Islamist
societies, Al-Minbar and Al-Asala, is a most positive
development. End Comment.



5. (C) Following is the text of the Statement of Principles
signed by Lulwa Al-Awadhi and Scott Bates on July 12:

Statement of Principles
Bahrain Institute for Political Development and National
Democratic Institute

One. The BIPD and NDI agree to enter into an initial period
of cooperation for six months on issues of mutual interest.
The initial period will commence in October 2007 with the
implementation of an initiative conducted in partnership

MANAMA 00000661 002 OF 002


between the BIPD and NDI. During the initial period of
cooperation either party may evaluate the relationship and
make a determination regarding continued cooperation.

Two. The BIPD and NDI will agree to a joint work plan as the
basis of their cooperation.

Three. NDI and its personnel affirm their respect for the
sovereignty of the Kingdom of Bahrain and all the laws and
regulations of the Kingdom.

Four. The BIPD and NDI affirm their mutual respect for and
support of democratic principles of governance.

End text of statement.

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