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09DOHA233 2009-04-01 13:41:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Doha
Cable title:  

FEUDS AND RECONCILIATION BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE

Tags:   PREL KPAL KWBG SU QA 
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1. (C) Based on Al Jazeera reports and those of other
regional media as monitored by the Open Source Center in Doha
and its sister offices, reconciliation was a general theme of
the Arab League Summit in Doha. Five days before the March
30-31 Summit convened, Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad called
on Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman. The visit to Jordan
was Asad's first in five years. The Syrian and Jordanian
leaders met again in Doha on the margins of the Summit, proof
according to a Qatari press source that relations between
Damascus and Amman are on a more positive footing.



2. (C) In addition to meeting with King Abdullah II of
Jordan, Al-Asad held separate meetings on the margins of the
Summit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Saudi
Arabia's King Abdullah, two prominent moderates. The Syrian
President's two other side-bar meetings in Doha took place
with Somali President Shaykh Sharif Shaykh Ahmad and Sudanese
President Omar Al-Bashir, neither in the moderate camp. A
Qatari press source told us, however, that the meetings with
these African leaders were more symbolic than substantive but
that the reverse is true for Al-Asad's meetings with the
Palestinian and Saudi leaders.



3. (U) Elsewhere on the reconciliation front, the Saudi,
Libyan and Qatari leaders held a meeting of reconciliation
after Qaddafi interrupted Qatar's Amir during one session and
accused King Abdullah of "evading confrontation for six
years" and of running a kingdom "created by the United
Kingdom and protected by the United States." Qatari press
reports confirm that Qatar's Amir spearheaded a
reconciliation meeting between the Saudi and Libyan leaders.



4. (C) There were conflicting reports as to why Saudi Arabia
accepted reconciliation with Libya. Some reports in the
press (and accounts given to the Embassy) maintain that the
Saudi King never heard Qaddafi's remarks and, thus, was not
offended by them. Other reports maintain that it was the
Saudi King who reached out to Qaddafi. Regardless, there is
agreement among Qatari press sources with whom we spoke that
Qatar's Amir was instrumental in helping both leaders clear
the air, and in the end Qaddafi invited King Abdullah to
visit Libya.

DOHA 00000233 002 OF 002





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YEMEN UNHAPPY


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5. (C) Not all was roses in matters of reconciliation.
President Saleh of Yemen boycotted the closing session of the
Summit because the Yemeni proposal for Arab unity was not
discussed. A Yemeni opposition group's website reported that
Qatar resented Saleh's statements at the Summit blaming
Qatar's mediation between his government and Huthi rebels as
further encouraging rebellion. A diplomatic source in Doha
confirmed this account.



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EGYPT AND QATAR STILL DIVIDED


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





6. (C) In a statement to the press after the close of the
Summit, Qatar's Prime Minister, Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani,
spoke of arguably the biggest conflict of all: Egypt's
frosty relations with Qatar. The Qatari PM acknowledged the
disagreements but said they would be resolved through
"friendly dialogue." An Egyptian diplomat told us privately
that reconciliation between Cairo and Doha will "take some
time," as the Egyptian list of grievances "is long."



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IRAQ AND IRAN


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





7. (U) According to press reports, Iraqi Prime Minister
Al-Maliki expressed reservations during the Summit meetings
over the final statement on Iraq, which "failed to mention
the security improvement" in that country. Separately, the
Yemeni Foreign Minister was heard to say that "the time is
not right" for an Arab-Iranian dialogue.
LeBaron