Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07NOUAKCHOTT487
2007-05-29 12:04:00
SECRET
Embassy Nouakchott
Cable title:  

CHARGE,S INTRODUCTORY CALL ON FOREIGN MINISTER

Tags:  IS MARR MR PGOV PHUM PREL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNKA #0487 1491204
ZNY SSSSS ZZH ZUI RUEWMCE5639 1491148
P 291204Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0000
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
MAGHREB COLLECTIVE
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
S E C R E T NOUAKCHOTT 000487 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/29/2017
TAGS: IS MARR MR PGOV PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: CHARGE,S INTRODUCTORY CALL ON FOREIGN MINISTER


CLASSIFIED BY: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES STEVEN KOUTSIS FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND
(D).

S E C R E T NOUAKCHOTT 000487

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/29/2017
TAGS: IS MARR MR PGOV PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: CHARGE,S INTRODUCTORY CALL ON FOREIGN MINISTER


CLASSIFIED BY: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES STEVEN KOUTSIS FOR REASONS 1.5 (B) AND
(D).


1. (C) SUMMARY: THE CHARGE PAID AN INTRODUCTORY CALL MAY 22
TO THE NEWLY APPOINTED MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND
COOPERATION MOHAMED SALECK OULD MOHAMED LEMINE. THE MINISTER
SAID U.S.-MAURITANIAN RELATIONS WERE "IMBALANCED" TOWARD
POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT AND HOPED THAT THE USG COULD PROVIDE
COMMENSURATE ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE. CHARGE DISCUSSED PROCESSES
UNDER WAY RELATED TO AGOA AND TSCTP AND ENCOURAGED MAURITANIA
TO PARTICIPATE IN MCC. THE MINISTER CONFIRMED HIS
GOVERNMENTS INTEREST IN CONTINUING A DIALOGUE ON THE THREE
MAURITANIAN GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEES BUT STOPPED SHORT OF
EITHER CONFIRMING THE CITIZENSHIP OF THE DETAINEE ELIGIBLE
FOR TRANSFER, OR COMMITTING HIS GOVERNMENT TO RECEIVING THAT
DETAINEE. THE MINISTER SOUGHT USG ASSISTANCE FOR ENGLISH
LANGUAGE TRAINING PROGRAMS FOR FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIALS.
THE TONE OF THE MEETING WAS CONGENIAL, THOUGH THE FOREIGN
MINISTER PERSISTENTLY SUGGESTED DISSATISFACTION WITH THE
CURRENT LEVEL OF U.S. ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO MAURITANIA. END
SUMMARY.

QUIET DEMANDS FOR INCREASED ASSISTANCE
--------------


2. (C) THE FOREIGN MINISTER CITED MAURITANIA,S CLOSE
COOPERATION WITH THE UNITED STATES ON SUCH ISSUES AS
TERRORISM, DRUG TRAFFICKING, AND INTERNATIONAL CRIME. HE
NOTED MAURITANIA'S CONTINUED WESTERN-LEANING POLICIES,
INCLUDING CONTINUED RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL DESPITE THE LACK OF
DOMESTIC SUPPORT. HOWEVER, THERE IS AN &IMBALANCE8 BETWEEN
OUR POLITICAL COOPERATION AND ECONOMIC SUPPORT, AND NOTED HIS
GOVERNMENT,S HOPE THAT THE UNITED STATES, ECONOMIC
INVOLVEMENT IN MAURITANIA WILL RISE TO THE LEVEL OF ITS
POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT. HE NOTED SPECIFICALLY THAT EGYPT AND
JORDAN RECEIVE SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNTS OF U.S. AID.


3. (C) CHARGE NOTED THE DEPUTY SECRETARY'S REMARKS DURING HIS
STAY IN NOUAKCHOTT ABOUT OUR DESIRE TO RE-ENGAGE WITH
MAURITANIA ON ECONOMIC MATTERS, AND HAD SAID THAT WE WOULD
TRY TO RESUME AGOA BENEFITS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. THE EMBASSY
IS WORKING WITH THE DEPARTMENT TO THAT END. THE CHARGE ALSO

NOTED THAT THE TRANS-SAHARAN COUNTERTERRORISM PARTNERSHIP
(TSCTP) PROGRAM, WHICH WILL BE STARTING IN A FEW WEEKS, ALSO
CONTAINS ELEMENTS OF ECONOMIC COOPERATION. HOWEVER, THE BEST
WAY TO RECEIVE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF ECONOMIC SUPPORT IS
THROUGH THE MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION. WHILE
MAURITANIA MAY NOT BE IMMEDIATELY ELIGIBLE FOR MCA COMPACT
FUNDING, THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD LOOK INTO PARTICIPATING IN THE
MCC THRESHOLD PROGRAM. HE PROMISED THAT THE EMBASSYS NEW
ECONOMIC OFFICER, ARRIVING SOON, WILL MAKE THIS A PRIORITY.

GUANTANAMO DETAINEES
--------------


4. (S) THE CHARGE SOUGHT CLARIFICATION ON THE GOVERNMENT'S
POSITION ON THE THREE MAURITANIAN CITIZENS CURRENTLY DETAINED
AT GUANTANAMO BAY. HE NOTED THAT THE EMBASSY HAD MADE A
FORMAL DEMARCHE ON ONE OF THE DETAINEES ON APRIL 24, AND
EMPHASIZED THE UNITED STATES, INTEREST IN TAKING THE
APPROPRIATE PROCEDURES TO TRANSFER THIS DETAINEE. HE ALSO
UNDERSTOOD THAT THE MAURITANIAN AMBASSADOR IN WASHINGTON HAD
RECENTLY RAISED THE ISSUE WITH THE NSC. FM LEMINE CONFIRMED
HE INSTRUCTED AMBASSADOR TIJANI TO PURSUE DISCUSSIONS ON THE
THREE DETAINEES. CHARGE NOTED THAT HE HAD INSTRUCTIONS FOR
ONE DETAINEE ONLY, AND THAT WOULD BE A GOOD BEGINNING. THE
FOREIGN MINISTER REPLIED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS UNDER SOME
PRESSURE TO ASSIST ITS CITIZENS BEING HELD IN GUANTANAMO AS A
&MORAL OBLIGATION,8 SO THE GOVERNMENT WISHES TO ENGAGE THE
U.S. EITHER TO SEEK THEIR RELEASE OR OTHER MEASURES SUCH AS
CONSULAR ACCESS. IF THEY FAIL, THEY CAN SAY THEY TRIED.


5. (C) AT THE SAME TIME, THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT YET MADE A
FINAL DETERMINATION ON THE THIRD DETAINEE'S CITIZENSHIP, AND
IS STILL INVESTIGATING, BUT THE MINISTER ADDED &HE IS LIKELY
A MAURITANIAN.8 FURTHER, THE GOVERNMENT HAD RECEIVED A
SAMPLE TRANSFER AGREEMENT, AND THEY ARE CONCERNED THAT THE
TERMS ARE TOO RESTRICTIVE SUCH THAT THEY COULD BE ACCUSED OF
FAILING IN THEIR AGREEMENT IF THE DETAINEE ENGAGES IN
TERRORIST ACTIVITIES IN THE FUTURE.

NO MAURITANIAN AMISOM SUPPORT IN SHORT TERM
--------------


6. (C) THE CHARGE NOTED THAT THE USG HAS RAISED THE
POSSIBILITY OF MAURITANIAN SUPPORT FOR THE PEACEKEEPING
MISSION IN SOMALIA (AMISOM). THE FOREIGN MINISTER NOTED THAT
THE SITUATION IN SOMALIA IS DIFFICULT AND EMPHASIZED THAT THE
GOVERNMENT MUST REFLECT BEFORE CONTRIBUTING TROOPS.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ASSISTANCE
--------------


7. (U) THE CHARGE ACKNOWLEDGED THE MFA,S INTEREST IN
RECEIVING ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRAINING ASSISTANCE FOR ITS
OFFICIALS, AND EXPRESSED THE EMBASSY'S WILLINGNESS TO ASSIST,
BUT EMPHASIZED THE IMPORTANCE OF IMPLEMENTING COST-EFFECTIVE
PROGRAMS BASED ON A SOUND OPERATIONAL PLAN. THE CHARGE NOTED
THAT IMMERSION PROGRAMS AT U.S. SCHOOLS MAY BE USEFUL TO
TRAIN STAFF WHO HAVE AN IMMEDIATE NEED FOR ENGLISH, BUT
LANGUAGE CLASSES IN MAURITANIA WOULD BE MORE EFFICACIOUS TO
TRAIN STAFF WITH LESS URGENT NEEDS. THE CHARGE INDICATED THAT
THE EMBASSY COULD LOOK INTO A MIX OF THE TWO PROGRAMS. THE
MINISTER ADMITTED THAT THE MFA HAD NOT DEVELOPED LISTS OF
PEOPLE WHO WOULD REQUIRE ENGLISH LANGUAGE TRAINING BUT NOTED
THAT THEIR EMBASSY HAD LOCATED SEVERAL SCHOOLS IN THE
WASHINGTON AREA THAT COULD PROVIDE THE LANGUAGE TRAINING THEY
WERE SEEKING.


8. (C) COMMENT: THE FOREIGN MINISTER SEEMED RATHER BLUNT IN
THIS INTRODUCTORY VISIT ABOUT WHAT HE EXPECTED FROM THE U.S.
IN TERMS OF ASSISTANCE. WHILE HE NEVER SAID SO DIRECTLY, HIS
IMPLICATION THAT MAURITANIA'S CONTINUED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
WITH ISRAEL SHOULD BE TIED TO ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE IS ALSO
DISTURBING. HE ALSO MADE QUITE CLEAR THAT IT WAS MORE
IMPORTANT FOR HIS GOVERNMENT TO BE SEEN TRYING TO HELP ITS
NATIONALS IN GUANTANAMO THAN ACTUALLY RECEIVING THEM.
FINALLY, WHILE WE AGREE THAT THE MFA OFFICIALS GENERALLY NEED
BETTER ENGLISH LANGUAGE SKILLS, IT SEEMS THE MFA SEES THIS
TRAINING MORE AS A PERK FOR STAFF THAN A STRATEGIC GOAL.


9. COMMENT CONTINUED: IT IS CLEAR THAT THIS GOVERNMENT
WANTS TO MAKE QUICK AND VISIBLE PROGRESS ON ALL FRONTS TO
PROVE THAT THE DEMOCRATIC EXPERIMENT IS WORKING. WHILE WE
SHARE THIS GOAL, WE ARE CONCERNED THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS
FLAILING ABOUT SOMEWHAT IN ITS ATTEMPT TO MAKE PROGRESS AND
IN THE PROCESS MAKING SOME HASTY DECISIONS. WE HAVE SEEN
THIS RECENTLY IN THE GOVERNMENT'S EFFORT TO PUSH PARTNERS TO
CONTRIBUTE 20,000 METRIC TONS OF FOOD FOR AN UNVERIFIED
700,000 FOOD-INSECURE PEOPLE. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO GUIDE
THE GOVERNMENT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. END COMMENT.
KOUTSIS