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07TUNIS797 2007-06-20 16:18:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tunis
Cable title:  

TUNISIA: FM ABDALLAH EBULLIENT OVER US TRIP;

Tags:   PREL MASS OVIP TS 
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1. (C/NF) An extremely grateful Foreign Minister Abdallah
asked to see the Ambassador on June 19 to convey his pleasure
over his recently concluded trip to the United States (Ref
A). No less than six times in the course of the 30-minute
meeting, Abdallah expressed appreciation for the warm
reception he had received, noting that this visit had
underscored for him the importance that Washington attaches
to our bilateral relationship. Abdallah asked that the
Ambassador relay his gratitude to his interlocutors -- Vice
President Cheney, Secretary Rice, Assistant to the President
for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Townsend, NEA A/S
Welch, and Deputy Defense Secretary England. Abdallah was
also pleased with his interactions with the US Congress,
including members of the newly formed Tunisia Caucus. He
noted with gratitude that Congressman Kramer had informed him
that Tunisia would receive an additional $5 million in FMF in
FY08. Abdallah noted that he will next visit the United
States in September/October 2007 for the UNGA, and that he
hopes to be able to meet with U/S Burns and NEA A/S Welch at
that time.



2. (C) Referring to the two days he spent in New York,
Abdallah said he had productive meetings with UNSYG Ban as
well as with the President of the General Assembly. In
addition to discussing Tunisia's contribution to the UN PKO
in the Congo, Abdallah said he and Ban had exchanged views on
problems in the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle
East.



3. (C/NF) On the last point, Abdallah noted that Tunisia is
serving on both of the recently formed Arab League committees
dealing with the situation in the Palestinian Territories and
the situation in Lebanon. He expressed disappointment that
the Palestinians had rejected the Arab League initiative as
interference in their internal matters, noting that the
intention had not been to interfere but rather to help the
Palestinians overcome the current crisis. Turning to the
situation in Lebanon, Abdallah said he was "not very
optimistic," since "with each passing day the situation
becomes increasingly complicated."



4. (C/NF) The Ambassador thanked the Foreign Minister for the
moderating role that Tunisia continues to play in the region
and expressed the hope that we could continue to work
together. Ambassador also underscored, again, US
appreciation for Tunisia's cooperation in accepting custody
of the first two Tunisian repatriated Guantanamo detainees
(Ref B).
GODEC