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Cablegate: Special Envoy to the Oic Lays Out Plans For

VZCZCXRO0425
RR RUEHAT
DE RUEHGV #0637/01 2131208
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311208Z JUL 08
FM USMISSION GENEVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6907
INFO RUEHZJ/HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 5153
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0869
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0339
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR 1727
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 2231
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 1767
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2794

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GENEVA 000637

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR IO-RHS, DRL-MLGA, L-HRR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KIRF AF MY ID SG TU
SUBJECT: SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE OIC LAYS OUT PLANS FOR
EXPANDED COOPERATION

1. (SBU) Summary: U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of
the Islamic Conference (OIC) Sada Cumber used his July 22
meetings with representatives of various OIC missions
represented in Geneva to highlight his plans for greater
USG-OIC dialogue. All his interlocutors expressed enthusiasm
for the idea and urged better engagement on a wide range of
issues. Cumber laid out his hopes for agreement on a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the OIC and the
USG; his interlocutors welcomed the MOU, stressing the
importance of broader cooperation on development, good
governance and other elements of that proposed agreement.
END SUMMARY.

S/E CUMBER LAYS OUT PLANS
-------------------------

2. (U) U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC) Sada Cumber met June 22 with ambassadors and
other officials of Pakistan (which serves as OIC coordinator
on human rights), Malaysia, Indonesia, Senegal, Turkey,
Afghanistan and the OIC delegation. In all his meetings,
Cumber explained his role and plans as Special Envoy,
introduced the USG proposal for an MOU with the OIC, and laid
the groundwork for broader USG-OIC dialogue, with a special
focus on both expanded contacts with OIC Secretary General
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and with Geneva human rights delegations.

PAKISTAN
--------

3. (SBU) Pakistani Ambassador Masood Khan welcomed the
appointment of a special envoy to the OIC and favored
dialogue as the best way to avoid working at cross purposes
"deliberately or inadvertently." He noted that SecGen
Ihsanoglu served as a helpful bridge between OIC and European
mindsets. Although many countries seek broader ties with the
OIC, the U.S. was in a particularly strong position given the
inclusiveness of U.S. society. Welcoming the MOU between the
USG and the OIC on socio-economic issues, Khan said the OIC
was working constructively to address many concerns,
including human rights in OIC countries. He spoke of making
room to reframe the defamation of religion debate in less
contentious terms. Khan welcomed the call of the previous
High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, for more
dialogue this year on freedom of expression. Khan offered to
help coordinate further meetings with OIC missions in Geneva
on Cumber's future visits.

MALAYSIA AND INDONESIA
----------------------

4. (SBU) Meetings with the ambassadors of Malaysia and
Indonesia also focused on the need for improved dialogue on
contentious issues. Malaysian Ambassador Hsu King Bee said
defamation of religion was a key issue in Geneva human rights
fora and called for balanced attention to freedom and to
responsibilities and for acknowledgment of anti-Muslim
prejudice in the world. Indonesian Ambassador I Gusti Agung
Wesaka Puja called for interfaith dialogue to address these
issues.

SENEGAL AND THE OIC
-------------------

5. (SBU) In a meeting with Senegalese Ambassador Babacar
Carlos Mbaye, Cumber stressed the need for strong moderate
leaders among the 27 OIC members from Africa, and expressed
hope that Senegal would play a leadership role among moderate
African delegations. Mbaye responded by noting that
Senegal's president relies on the OIC to encourage progress
in the Islamic world, including at a recent OIC conference
held in Dakar. Mbaye lauded the draft MOU and favored
engagement with all stakeholders, especially moderate Muslims.

6. (SBU) In a meeting with the Ambassador of the OIC in
Geneva, Babacar Ba (from Senegal), Cumber discussed the broad
range of initiatives that fall under the MOU he was crafting
and urged USG coordination with the OIC's own ten-year plan.
They discussed the need for better educational institutions
in Islamic countries and the OIC's initiatives to address
such problems as polio eradication and economic development.

GENEVA 00000637 002 OF 002


Commenting that he had worried that establishing a U.S.
Special Envoy to the OIC would be a perfunctory gesture of
engagement, Ba said he now recognized that dialogue with
Cumber could bear fruit and looked forward to him continuing
in his active consultations.

TURKEY
------

7. (SBU) In a meeting with Turkish charge Asligul Ugdul and
Political Counselor Yonca Ozceri, Cumber stressed the pivotal
role that Turkey could play in pushing other countries to
learn from their example as a secular Islamic state and
called for inclusive interfaith dialogue. Commenting that
the new U.S. approach was "better late than never," Ugdul
noted the idiosyncrasies of Turkey's position between the OIC
and Europe. Ozceri pointed out that Turkey had always
supported both sides of the defamation question: the EU's
desire to prevent incitement to hatred and violence and the
OIC's desire to stop all defamation of Islam. Cumber said
that stronger civil society structures in Muslim societies
would offer a healthier response to religious intolerance
than does the fight over defamation of religion. Ozceri
replied that the international community must find a way to
address religion-based phobias; the UN was the only place to
openly discuss the question, and Geneva's Human Rights
Council was the place to address the technicalities of that
discussion.

AFGHANISTAN
-----------

8. (SBU) Afghan Ambassador Nangayulai Tarzi saw the need to
empower what he and Cumber both termed a "silent majority" in
the OIC; many OIC members disagree with the organization's
more vocal bullies but were constrained by domestic public
opinion and other factors from blocking those bullies from
pursuing their more strident and harmful objectives. Tarzi
noted that closed and open votes produced very different
results among OIC states and said moderates should use
procedural maneuvering to pursue their goals. Muslim
countries also need to continue using education and other
means to counter radical interpretations of Islam, Tarzi
argued, pointing to huge increases in child enrollment in
education since the fall of the Taliban as a positive trend.
Tarzi also said that to be truly effective, the OIC would
need a real budget, more political will from its members, and
a staff of permanent personnel.

9. (U) Cleared by Sada Cumber.
TICHENOR

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