Cablegate: A/S Welch's January 3 Meeting with Libyan Fm
O P 112326Z JAN 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI IMMEDIATE
INFO AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY RABAT PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY TUNIS PRIORITY
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AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI PRIORITY
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AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY
AMCONSUL DUBAI PRIORITY
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S E C R E T STATE 003728
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/11/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR KPKO MARR LY UN SU YI
SUBJECT: A/S WELCH'S JANUARY 3 MEETING WITH LIBYAN FM
SHALGAM ON MULTILATERAL ISSUES
REF: STATE 2127 (NOTAL)
Classified By: NEA A/S Gordon Gray, Acting for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (U) January 3, 2008, 12:00 p.m., Washington
2. (U) Participants: United States A/S Welch Amanda Johnson, NEA/MAG (notetaker) Libya Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgam Secretary for Americas Affairs Ahmed Fituri SIPDIS Ambassador Ali Aujali Director of Americas Affairs Mohamed al-Matri ---------------- Summary ---------------
3.(S) A/S Welch met Libyan Foreign Minister Shalgam on January 3 and called for constructive cooperation on the UN Security Council (UNSC), particularly on important issues such as Iran, Darfur and the Hariri Tribunal. Shalgam expressed Libyan support for the Tribunal but cautioned against targeting the Syrian regime. Shalgam supported greater efforts in Darfur, and characterized Iran's nuclear policy as foolish. A/S Welch noted that DOD would pass Shalgam a draft of the mil-mil MOU during his visit and urged that Libya receive a visit by AFRICOM Commander General Ward. Shalgam said a Ward visit could help dispel misinformation and mistrust on AFRICOM and help solicit support for Libya's proposed AU Ministry of Defense and peace keeping force. Shalgam expressed concern for the growing Chinese presence in Africa. End summary.
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4.(S) A/S Welch stated that Libya's 2008-2009 tenure on the UN Security Council would provide an opportunity for Libya to destroy myths about its conduct on the international stage. Important issues will be discussed during Libya's early tenure and January presidency, such as Iran, Darfur, and the Hariri Tribunal. A/S Welch called for constructive cooperation these and other important issues to be discussed during Libya,s early tenure and January Presidency. He urged that Libya not make the same mistakes as Qatar, noting that, on the Hariri Tribunal, Qatar was unwilling to take a position and choose between Arab mainstream opinion and support for Damascus. Addressing Shalgam,s concern that the Tribunal is targeted at the Syrian regime, A/S Welch underscored that a separate decision would need to be made concerning head-of-state culpability. He warned Shalgam not to "be more Syrian than the Syrians," emphasizing that Lebanon supports the Tribunal and the Arab consensus would protect Libya in its decisions.
5.(S) Shalgam said the Libyan government supports the Tribunal investigation, but asserted that the investigation should be targeted at the individuals that perpetrated the crime, not the Syrian regime. On Iran, Shalgam noted his December 26 meeting with Vice President Davoudi, saying that he did not understand Iran's "uranium ambition" and that "enlightened progress means a relationship with the United States." Shalgam said he pointed to North Korea as a tale of caution for Iran. Shalgam offered to convey any message from Iran to the USG during his visit, but received no response from Davoudi. On Kosovo, Shalgam sympathized with the Kosovar experience under Serbian rule. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov visited Libya December 23 and pressed for support in the UNSC against independence. Shalgam said he was pleased to hear earlier from U/S Burns (septel) that Kosovo would not go before the Council. Libya is against partition of any state on principle and would not publicly support independence or seek to make independence an issue before the UNSC. Shalgam reasserted President Bashir's responsibility for the crisis in Darfur and urged action.
AFRICOM and Mil-Mil Cooperation
6.(C) A/S Welch told Shalgam that Deputy Secretary of Defense England would pass him the USG reply to the draft mil-mil MOU on January 3. (Note: DOD passed the MOU and will follow up separately. End note.) A/S Welch underscored the importance of increased defense cooperation as a signal of normalcy in the bilateral military relationship, particularly when considering Libya's relatively recent rescission from the state sponsors of terrorism in June 2006. A/S Welch added that the Libyan government should invite AFRICOM Commander General Ward to Libya to discuss AFRICOM in greater detail.
7.(C) Shalgam voiced the Libyan government's interest in discussing AFRICOM and welcomed General Ward's visit. However, he cautioned, the old guard within the MOD does not favor closer ties with the USG (reftel). In particular, General Abubaker Younes, the second in command, is firmly against cooperation and will refuse to meet any American official as he views U.S. coalition forces in Iraq as an occupation force. Nonetheless, Shalgam explained that it is important for Ward to visit and dispel misinformation and mistrust of AFRICOM among the Libyan leadership. He reasserted Libya's continued, strong objection to U.S. military forces in Africa. Additionally, Shalgam explained Libya's plan to propose the creation of federal African ministries under the African Union banner during the January AU meeting. Under a proposed AU Ministry of Defense, Shalgam detailed, an "army" could be established that would act as an AU peacekeeping force for hot spots, such as Somalia. A/S Welch agreed that a dialogue on AFRICOM would be helpful and noted Libya's views on AFRICOM and its national interests. A/S Welch further recognized Libyan Leader Qadhafi's insistence that U.S. and NATO forces not participate in UNAMID and noted that they have not.
8.(C) Concluding, Shalgam turned to the six C-130s Libya purchased through a direct commercial sale from Lockheed Martin in 1973. (Note: U.S. sanctions were subsequently enacted and the C-130s have been in storage in Georgia without maintenance since 1975. End note.) Shalgam expressed his hope that DOD would pay for the C-130s' refurbishment as a gesture of friendship.
Chinese in Africa
9.(C) Shalgam expressed great concern regarding Chinese activities in Africa and referred to their growing presence as a "slow occupation" of the continent. Shalgam claimed that by 2050 the Chinese government wants 30 million Chinese settled in Africa and even provides financial support for Chinese immigrants. The Chinese situation is of such concern that Algerian President Bouteflika raised the issue with Qadhafi. Previously, Shalgam claimed, Bouteflika had viewed the Chinese as friends and a useful workforce.
10.(U) Tripoli minimize considered.