Cablegate: Syg Moussa On Iraq, Sudan and Israel-Palestinian

DE RUEHEG #2197/01 2891529
P 151529Z OCT 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 002197



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/15/2018

REF: A. CAIRO 2188 B. KHARTOUM 1521 Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey Reasons: 1.4 (B) and (D)
1.(C) Summary. Arab League SYG Moussa discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Sudan, and Iraq in an October 15 meeting with the Ambassador. Moussa said there was a basis for optimism on Egypt's intra-Palestinian reconciliation efforts, but acknowledged there was a chance of failure. He reiterated Arab League complaints about Israeli settlement expansion, and was pessimistic on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Moussa was planning to visit Sudan later in the day to participate in the October 16 "Sudan People's Initiative"; he assessed that the Sudanese government was taking positive steps to implement the July 2008 "solutions package" agreement, and said that he believed that all Sudanese factions (including those currently outside of Sudan) were planning to attend the October 16 conference. Moussa said that progress was being made in Iraq, but that the Iraqis still have work to do, especially on development of security and police forces. End summary. ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT ----------------------------

2.(C) Moussa characterized the state of Egyptian efforts on intra-Palestinian reconciliation as a "two-sided coin," with positive and negative elements. He said that Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Soliman has told him that the talks are moving forward, and that Egypt will be able to report progress to the Arab League by mid-November. Moussa said that a plan for a "national conciliation government" had been presented to the factions, and that the proposal had been conveyed to PA President Abbas. He was unsure of Abbas' reaction. If Egyptian efforts are successful, Moussa said that the Arab League would be prepared to support implementation. If the reconciliation attempt fails, then the Arab League would be forced to convene and review the issue. Moussa said that in the event of failure, the Arab League would review the facts and impartially determine which factions are to blame.

3.(C) Moussa said that he believed the factions would come to agreement on paper, but that implementation would be the real challenge. He anticipated that the Palestinians would request some kind of implementation assistance from the Arab League. He said he would press as hard as possible for success, because continuing division of the Palestinians would be "fatal" to prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

4.(C) Moussa reiterated Arab League complaints about continuing Israeli settlement activity, and argued that USG failure to address this successfully would hinder efforts to memorialize progress on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. He said that Israeli settlements, the security barrier, and Israeli roads in the West Bank all presented serious obstacles to peace. He claimed that PA President Abbas has told him that there has been "no progress" in the negotiations; the Ambassador suggested that this may be a negotiating tactic of Abbas', and affirmed USG support for preserving progress between the parties as we headed into 2009. SUDAN -----

5.(C) Moussa briefed on his plan to travel later in the day to Sudan to participate in the "Sudan People's Intiative" (reftel b). He claimed that President Bashir was taking positive steps to implement the terms of the Arab League/Sudan July 2008 "solutions package" agreement. The Sudanese special prosecutor has held hearings and made accusations, and the amended penal code will be presented to parliament on October 24 and will codify as crimes genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Moussa also claimed that the judiciary had formed tribunals. He reported that the GOS had recently informed him that Ali Kousheb (wanted in connection with Darfur crimes) is in detention, and that the Arab League had requested formal confirmation.

6.(C) Moussa said that he understood that all factions are expected to attend the October 16 conference, including those currently outside of Sudan (Note: media reports issued later in the day on October 15 indicated there was uncertainty as to whether all factions would in fact attend. End note). Moussa expected that the Doha peace talks would be held at the end of October. He said that his staff had recently reported that conditions, and GOS cooperation with CAIRO 00002197 002 OF 002 humanitarian operations, were improving. IRAQ ----

7.(C) The Ambassador praised the Arab League for returning a senior envoy to Baghdad. The tide appears to be turning, and Arab presence in Baghdad is critical. Moussa said that he believes that Iraq "could really move in the right direction. Or it could blow up. There are a lot of powers playing in Iraq." The critical issue now, according to Moussa, was Iraqi preparedness. The army, police, judiciary, and society at large will all be tested, he said. The Sunni-Shia dynamic is still in play; sometimes good, sometimes bad. He reported that sources in Tabouk were talking about a "tripartite administration," something previously considered "taboo."

8.(C) Moussa said that Iraqi FM Zebari had briefed him three weeks earlier on the status of U.S.-Iraqi negotiations on USG forces in Iraq (SOFA). However, he understood that the draft had changed significantly, and said that the Arab League will have to review the final text carefully before determining whether it can be supported. The Ambassador noted that the Iranians were likely to portray the final agreement in the most negative light, regardless of the substance, and urged Moussa to do what he could to support the Iraqi government when the agreement is approved. SCOBEY

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