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Cablegate: Bahrain: Preparation for Arab League Ministerial

VZCZCXYZ0162
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMK #0125 0630708
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 030708Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7632
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000125

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA AND EUR/SCE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/03/2018
TAGS: PREL LE SY KV AL BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAIN: PREPARATION FOR ARAB LEAGUE MINISTERIAL

REF: STATE 19743

Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(C) Poloff discussed Arab League ministerial preparations (reftel) on March 2 with MFA Bilateral Relations Director Dhafer Al-Umran during an office call with visiting NEA/ARP Director Andrew Steinfeld.

2.(C) Regarding Lebanon, Al-Umran agreed that Syria continues to play an obstructionist role and said that he expected "big decisions" would be made at the upcoming ministerial. He said shifting the site of the summit would hinge on Amre Moussa's recommendation. (Note: The GOB has told us previously that King Hamad will not attend the Damascus summit. End note.)

3.(C) On Kosovo, Al-Umran repeated the refrain that Bahrain would prefer to move in concert with the GCC, or perhaps with the Arab League or Islamic Conference. He emphasized that Bahrain intends to recognize Kosovo's independence, but that it did not want to get out ahead of its neighbors. He argued that the best outcome might be for the OIC to adopt a position in favor of independence. "You would have all the Islamic countries, not just the GCC or Arab League." Poloff confirmed separately with MFA GCC Affairs Director Ahmed Al-Dossari that the GCC FMs had agreed in Riyadh on March 1 to support Kosovo's independence, but wait until after the OIC summit in Dakar to take formal steps on recognition.

4.(C) Al-Umran said that Bahrain supports and will continue to support efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq. ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** ERELI

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