Cablegate: Gol Tells Iranian Vp It Opposes Iran Resolution, Shares
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0012/01 0090957
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 090957Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2978
INFO RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0404
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0710
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 3419
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000012
DEPT FOR NEA/MAG
E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/9/2028
TAGS: PREL PGOV KTFN KNNP PARM ETTC EFIN IR IZ LE LY
SUBJECT: GOL TELLS IRANIAN VP IT OPPOSES IRAN RESOLUTION, SHARES
"IDENTICAL" VIEWS ON IRAQ, ISRAEL-PALESTINE & LEBANON REF: LONDON 0070 TRIPOLI 00000012 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: William B. Milam, Charge d'Affaires, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1.(S) Summary: An Iranian delegation led by First Vice-President Davoudi, the highest ranking Iranian official to visit in 25 years, recently concluded a number of cooperation agreements in Tripoli. In public remarks, GOL officials expressed support for a peaceful Iranian nuclear program and characterized Iranian and Libyan views on Iraq, Israel-Palestine and Lebanon as "identical", apparently contradicting what Foreign Minister Shalgham told interlocutors during his recent visit to Washington. Private readouts suggest that both Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi and Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgham told Davoudi that the GOL opposes a third sanctions resolution on Iran, contradicting Shalgham's assurances to Washington interlocutors. Public and private readouts suggest Iran is particularly focused on joint investment activity and cooperation between the two sides' central banks, a potentially worrying development. End summary.
HIGHEST LEVEL IRANIAN VISIT IN 25 YEARS
2.(U) Iran's First Vice-President, Pervez Davoudi, headed a high-level Iranian delegation that visited Tripoli December 26-27 under the auspices of the twelth session of the joint Libya-Iran Economic Commission. Press reports indicate that Davoudi is the highest ranking Iranian official to visit Libya in 25 years. Iran's Minister for Housing and Urban Planning, Mohamed Saidi Kia, and Minister of Economy and Finance, Davoud Danesh-Jafari, accompanied Davoudi.
PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM; U.S. SHOULD WITHDRAW FROM IRAQ
3.(SBU) Libya's state-controlled media focused on Iran's nuclear program - emphasizing its right to pursue peaceful uses of atomic energy - and economic cooperation. In his public remarks, Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi stressed Libya's support for Iran's "legal and principled stands on its peaceful nuclear activities". Al-Mahmoudi noted publicly that Libya and Iran share the view that the U.S. "occupation" of Iraq has destabilized the region. Echoing Davoudi's remarks, he expressed support for Iraq's territorial integrity and its people and called for the prompt withdrawal of U.S. forces, a subject he said featured prominently in the two sides' private discussions. In remarks carried in the Libyan press, Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgham said the GOL and Iran share "identical" views on Iraq, Israel-Palestine and Lebanon. (Note: Contradicting what we understand Shalgham conveyed to U/S Burns and NEA A/S Welch during his meetings with them January 3 in Washington. End note.)
QADHAFI FOCUSES ON UNSC SANCTIONS ON IRAN ...
4.(S) Citing a readout from Iranian DCM Mohammed Hossein Mirzaee, Egyptian Charge d'Affaires Ahmed Abdel-Halim told A/DCM January 6 that Davoudi's visit to Tripoli was a follow-on to Libyan PM al-Mahmoudi's stop in Tehran in May 2007. Mirzaee confirmed that Davoudi met with Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi, clarifying conflicting press accounts as to whether such had occurred. According to Mirzaee, al-Qadhafi and Davoudi discussed further possible sanctions on Iran in light of Libya's current UNSC Presidency. Al-Qadhafi reportedly assured Davoudi that Libya opposes a third sanctions resolution on Iran. According to Mirzaee, Shalgham took the same position in his discussions with Davoudi. (Note: Contradicting what we understand Shalgham told U/S Burns in Washington January 3, and agreeing with what we understand he told U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband in London January 7 (reftel). End note.)
5.(S) Mirzaee stressed to his Egyptian interlocutor that neither al-Qadhafi nor Shalgham had offered to play a role in mediating between Iran and the USG and international community on the nuclear file. (Note: Again, contradicting what we understand Shalgham told U/S Burns on January 3. End note.) According to Mirzaee, Libya's experience is not analogous to Iran's because Libya had WMD aspirations, while Iran maintains that it only seeks civilian applications of nuclear technology.
... AND ON IRAQ, ISRAEL-PALESTINE & IMAM MUSA SADR CASE
6.(C) Qadhafi reportedly spent considerable time denouncing the U.S. "occupation" of Iraq and continuing Israeli "aggression" against Palestinians. He apparently treated Davoudi to a lengthy discourse on his "Isratine" proposal for a one-state TRIPOLI 00000012 002.2 OF 002 solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Echoing Shalgham's public remarks, Qadhafi reportedly assured Davoudi that the GOL shares Iran's views on Iraq, Israel-Palestine and Lebanon.
7.(C) Qadhafi reportedly raised with Davoudi the case of Lebanese Shi'a cleric Imam Musa Sadr, who disappeared during a visit to Libya in August 1978. Qadhafi reportedly complained that Lebanese officials had recently raised the case again and asked for Iran's assistance in smoothing over the issue. (Note: Lebanese-Libyan official relations have remain strained since Sadr's disappearance. End note.) Noting that Iran and Libya have a "separate channel" for dealing with the contentious issue of Sadr's disappearance, Mirzaee stressed to Abdel-Halim that Iran tries to limit the extent to which the matter bears on bilateral Iran-Libya relations. Mirzaee complained that Lebanon's insistence on pursuing the matter has periodically led to Iranian-Lebanese contretemps.
10 AGREEMENTS SIGNED; JOINT BANKING, INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS KEY
8.(U) During the visit, the two sides announced they would soon establish a joint political committee at the ministerial level and signed 10 agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOU's) covering investment, banking, higher education, maritime transport, fishing, tourism cultural exchanges and media cooperation. Two key MOU's provide a framework for cooperation between the central banks of Libya and Iran and the establishment of a joint investment entity by Libya's National Investment Promotion Office and its Iranian counterpart. Shalgham emphasized the expectation that the activities of the joint political committee would facilitate greater Iranian participation in Libya's economic development, particularly in the areas of finance and infrastructure development. Claiming that expansion of ties with African countries is a key Iranian foreign policy priority, Davoudi nonetheless stressed that economic and other, unspecified, Libyan-Iranian cooperation would also extend to Central Asia and Latin America.
INVESTMENT, FINANCE KEY FROM IRAN'S PERSPECTIVE
9.(C) Mirzaee told Abdel-Halim that from Iran's perspective the most significant agreement was that which established a joint Libyan-Iranian investment entity, to be capitalized with money via each country's central bank, for investments in Africa, Central Asia and Latin America. Iran also viewed increased cooperation between the two sides' central banks as an important development, in part because Iran's access to international banking and finance has become increasingly difficult.
10.(S) Comment: The apparent disconnect between Shalgham's public and private comments in Tripoli and what he said in Washington is troubling, the more so since the readout from his meeting with U.K. FS Miliband seems to corroborate reports here that the GOL opposes further sanctions against Iran. Iranian officials' emphasis on joint investment projects and central bank cooperation is an interesting and potentially worrying development that Post will continue to track. End comment. MILAM 0 01/09/2008 7863 PREL,PGOV,KTFN,KNNP,PARM,ETTC,EFIN,IR,IZ,LE,LY GOL TELLS IRANIAN VP IT OPPOSES IRAN RESOLUTION, SHARES "IDENTICAL" VIEWS ON IRAQ, ISRAEL-PALESTINE & LEBANON An Iranian delegation led by First Vice-President Davoudi, the highest ranking Iranian official to visit in 25 years, recently concluded a number of cooperation agreements in Tripoli. In public remarks, GOL officials expressed support for a peaceful Iranian nuclear program and characterized Iranian and Libyan views on Iraq, Israel-Palestine and Lebanon as "identical", apparently contradicting what Foreign Minister Shalgham told interlocutors during his recent visit to Washington. Private readouts suggest that both Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi and Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Shalgham told Davoudi that the GOL opposes a third sanctions resolution on Iran, contradicting Shalgham's assurances to Washington interlocutors. Public and private readouts suggest Iran is particularly focused on joint investment activity and cooperation between the two sides' central banks, a potentially worrying development.