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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09DAMASCUS707 2009-10-01 13:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Damascus
Cable title:  

ALEPPO CONTACTS CRITICIZE SANCTIONS, SEEK CLOSER

Tags:   ECIN ECON PGOV PREF PREL SY 
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VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0707/01 2741307
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011307Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6887
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0723
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0683
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 1741
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L DAMASCUS 000707 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/ELA, NEA/FO, EEB/EX, EEB/ESC/TFS, L/EB
COMMERCE FOR BIS/SONDERMAN/CHRISTINO
NSC FOR SHAPIRO/MCDERMOTT
TREASURY FOR HAJJAR/CURTIN
PARIS FOR NOBLES
LONDON FOR LORD
JERUSALEM FOR KAPLAN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/01/2019
TAGS: ECIN ECON PGOV PREF PREL SY
SUBJECT: ALEPPO CONTACTS CRITICIZE SANCTIONS, SEEK CLOSER
COOPERATION

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Chuck Hunter for reasons 1.4(b,d)

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Summary
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1. (SBU) CDA, Consul General, and embassy staff visited
Aleppo September 27-28 to meet with area wardens and local
businessmen and attend a ceremony marking the inauguration of
the Ein al-Tal Refugee Camp. The UNRWA-sponsored event
marked the completion of Phase 1 of the Neirab Palestinian
Refugee Camp Rehabilitation Project. The response to the
CDA's visit was overwhelmingly positive and emphasized the
importance of maintaining a focused attention on issues
confronting Syrians outside of Damascus. End summary.



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CDA and Consul General Hold Reception in Aleppo


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2. (SBU) CDA, Consul General, and embassy staff traveled to
Aleppo September 27 to meet with area wardens and local
business contacts. An evening reception provided a venue to
introduce the CDA and other newly arrived staff to wardens
living in northern Syria as well as engage with businessmen
from the Aleppo area. CDA's visit was very well received.
The approximately 50 reception attendees were excited to have
the opportunity to discuss issues affecting northern Syria
with both the Charge and Consul General.



3. (SBU) A group of Aleppo area businessmen, led by Hassan
Zeno, Hassan M. Assil and Dr. Walid Al Hassen, all dual
U.S.-Syrian citizens, discussed their desire to form an
"American Business Group" and/or a Syrian/American Chamber of
Commerce in Aleppo. The American Business Group would be
modeled on the American Business Group in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.,
of which Dr. Hassen is a member. The purpose of the group
would be to address issues affecting American businessmen
living and working in Syria, particularly the difficulties of
doing business under the current U.S. sanctions regime.



4. (C) Dr. Hasan Ahmad Zeido, President of the Aleppo Chamber
of Commerce, criticized U.S. economic sanctions against
Syria. He also expressed a desire for greater economic
cooperation between the U.S. and Syria. Zeido, and many
others, expressed frustration concerning the effect sanctions
are having on their businesses. Emboff discussed the current
situation regarding U.S. sanctions against Syria with the
attendees and promised to keep them updated with any changes
that occur in the sanctions regime.



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Ein al-Tal Palestinian Refugee Camp Inauguration


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5. (SBU) As reported septel, CDA participated in the
inauguration of the new Ein al-Tal Palestinian Refugee Camp
near Aleppo on September 28 as one of several "Opening
Remarks" speakers. The United Nations Relief and Works
Agency (UNRWA)-sponsored event highlighted the USG's nearly
$3 million of assistance to the Neirab Palestinian Refugee
Camp Rehabilitation Project. Construction of the Ein al-Tal
Camp was Phase 1 of the Neirab project. First Lady Asma
al-Asad attended the event.



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


Former U.S. Consulate in Aleppo


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





6. (C) Prior to departure, CDA toured the compound of the
former U.S. consulate in Aleppo. The former U.S. consulate
property, which is still owned by the U.S. government, has
sat idle since being attacked and burned in 1967. The
property has been well maintained and remains in pristine
condition structurally despite cosmetic interior damage due
to the fire. Disposition of the property will be a subject
of discussion with the OIG team due to arrive in Damascus on

October 22.
HUNTER