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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08MANAMA61 2008-02-03 12:29:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Manama
Cable title:  

NDI IN BAHRAIN: UPDATE

Tags:   KDEM PGOV BA 
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1. (SBU) Summary: Following a protracted negotiation over the
terms of its relationship with the Bahrain Institute for
Political Development (BIPD), NDI has successfully conducted
one parliamentary training project and has received positive
GOB reaction for further programs in February, March, and
April. End summary.



2. (SBU) NDI and the BIPD concluded a partnership agreement
in July 2007 that paved the way for NDI's return to Bahrain
(reftel). During the negotiations, BIPD Board of Trustees
President Lulua Al-Awadi pressed to bring NDI "under the
umbrella" of the BIPD in order to exert maximum control over
its activities. NDI Senior Adviser Scott Bates declined to
accept those terms, and Al-Awadi eventually agreed to a
"partnership" arrangement. Bates noted in a meeting with
Charge on January 30 that Al-Awadi continues to "needle" NDI
in the press.



3. (SBU) Bates was in Manama to meet with BIPD and GOB
officials in preparation for a parliamentary training program
on February 21. The program aims to educate MPs how to
better communicate with their constituents about the work
they have done on their behalf. Bates said that BIPD
Executive Director Ibrahim Al-Rumaihi had proven easy to work
with and was supportive of the parliamentary training
project. NDI plans to conduct training for MPs in March and
April as well. NDI also hopes to conduct a program for MPs
in the fall, contingent on a pending grant request, on the
role of political societies in the legislative / executive
relationship.



4. (SBU) The February program follows on the heels of a
similar training program conducted on October 31, 2007. At
that time, Bates was pleased with NDI's reception and the
newly cooperative relationship with the BIPD, but believed
that the real test would come during future visits as NDI
sought to reconnect with previous partners on an informal
basis. During the meeting with Charge, Bates said that NDI
had encountered no resistance from the BIPD or others in
meeting informally with its "old friends."



5. (SBU) Comment: After a rough patch in 2006 and 2007,
during which NDI suspended operations in Bahrain, it has now
resumed an ambitious slate of activities and seems to have
established a cooperative relationship with the BIPD.

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HENZEL