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Cablegate: Codel Kerry Meeting with President Mubarak

VZCZCXRO0166
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1637/01 2131008
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311008Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0100
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001637

SIPDIS

NSC FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/21/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPAL PHUM AU EG IR IS SU
SUBJECT: CODEL KERRY MEETING WITH PRESIDENT MUBARAK

Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey, for reasons
1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: On July 2, Senator Kerry and the Ambassador
discussed regional developments with President Hosni Mubarak,
including Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, and Israel-Palestine.
Mubarak said that Egypt was working to find a solution in
Sudan, but preferred to do so "quietly." Mubarak warned
against a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. While he
called Iranians "liars" and said they sponsor terrorism, he
opined that no Arab state would join the U.S. in a formal
defense alliance against Iran for fear of retaliation.
Mubarak expressed frustration with the Israeli-Palestinian
peace process, and was particularly disparaging about the
lack of Palestinian unity. End summary.

-------------------
AU "Soft" on Mugabe
-------------------

2. (C) In a 60-minute meeting with President Mubarak in Sharm
El-Sheikh, Senator Kerry began by asking for Mubarak's views
on the discussions at the African Union Summit, which had
concluded in Sharm El-Sheikh the previous day. Mubarak said
he had been at the Summit until late in the evening and was
tired. He reported that some member states had condemned
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, while others told him to
form a national unity government and find a role for the
opposition parties. Mubarak said he couldn't prevent Mugabe
from attending the conference in Egypt because Zimbabwe is a
member of the African Union. He said the British were behind
this "big fuss" and that the pressure from other African
leaders was "sufficiently soft that Mugabe can do what he
wants."

-------------------------------
Sudan: Quiet Diplomacy Is Best
-------------------------------

3. (C) In response to Senator Kerry's query about the
situation in Sudan, Mubarak said the issue was not discussed
publicly at the AU summit. He also said "this issue could
have been worked out" if it were not debated so publicly
because "two tribes always work things out." Mubarak noted
Egypt's attempts to "try and help the (Sudanese) people"
through the Egyptian hospital in Sudan and the efforts of
EGIS Director Omar Suleiman to advise on North-South
negotiations.

------------------------------
Iraq: Don't Pull Out Too Soon
------------------------------

4. (C) Turning to Iraq, Senator Kerry asked Mubarak if he had
changed his opinion of Prime Minister Al Maliki after Iraq's
successful stabilization efforts in Basra and Sadr City.
Mubarak said he "I am not critical. He came to Cairo. I gave
him my phone number but he hasn't called us." He noted that
Egypt offered to host and train Iraqi forces, but that the
offer had not been acted upon by the Iraqis. He said the
U.S. "cannot withdraw until you strengthen the armed forces
and police. Until then you have to stay."

-------------------
Beware The Iranians
-------------------

5. (C) Mubarak's top concern for the stability of Iraq and
the region is Iran. He believes that "as a result of the
invasion of Iraq, Iran is spreading everywhere." He urged the
U.S. to be wary of what Iran says. "They are big, fat liars
and justify their lies because they believe it is for a
higher purpose." He said he believes this opinion is shared
by other leaders in the region. Nonetheless, he opined that
no Arab state will join the U.S. in a defense relationship
vis-a-vis Iran out of fear of "sabotage and Iranian
terrorism." He said Iran's sponsorship of terrorism is
"well-known but I cannot say it publicly. It would create a
dangerous situation." Mubarak said that sanctions are the
best hope for containing Iran, but Arab states won't dare to
endorse them.

-----------------------------------
Not Optimistic on The Peace Process
-----------------------------------

6. (C) On the Middle East Peace Process, Mubarak said he sees
no progress between Syria and Israel and doesn't expect any
progress between Israel and the PA leadership. He said that
"Palestinians are quarrelling" and Hamas and other factions
will reject any agreement made by Abu Mazen. Senator Kerry

CAIRO 00001637 002 OF 002


suggested the parties appeared to be close in some areas. In
response, Mubarak reiterated he doesn't believe the many
Palestinian factions will reach agreement and, thus, they
only serve to undermine Abu Mazen's efforts.

7. (C) This cable was not cleared by CODEL Kerry.
SCOBEY

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