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Cablegate: Amman Center for Peace and Development Seeks U.S.

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 005510

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/RA (SUTPHIN/HANDON-DAVIDSON), NEA/ARN
(ZIADEH) AND NEA/IPA (RATNEY)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPAL IS JO MEPP
SUBJECT: AMMAN CENTER FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT SEEKS U.S.
FUNDING FOR TRACK II PROJECT: THE SECURITY DIMENSION OF THE
ARAB INITIATIVE

-------
Summary
-------

1. (U) On September 19, poloff met with Dr. Muhammad Kheir
Mustafa, Director of the Amman Center for Peace and
Development (ACPD) to discuss a proposed ACPD project "to
develop an operational definition to the security aspect of
the Arab Initiative." The ACPD, one of the few remaining
active pro-peace organizations in Jordan, has organized
meetings over the past two years between retired Jordanian
and Israeli military officers, and has participated in other
Track II activities during that time as well. The new
project would include a series of workshops on three separate
but interrelated tracks, seeking both Arab and Israeli
perspectives on elements needed for realizable security
guarantees. The ACPD has approached a number of possible
donors to support this project, including Canada and the NGO
Search for Common Ground. Dr. Mustafa said the ACPD would
welcome U.S. support for their endeavor. Details follow.
End Summary.

--------
The ACPD
--------

2. (U) The ACPD is a small but active organization that has
sought to keep lines of communication open between Israelis
and Jordanians in the face of spiraling regional tensions and
current widespread popular opposition to "normalization" with
Israel throughout Jordanian society. The ACPD has convened
five meetings in 2001-2002 between retired Jordanian and
Israeli military officers to discuss security and political
issues of relevance to both sides (Note: the most recent
meeting took place in Amman on August 2-3, 2002). The ACPD
has often collaborated with Dr. Yair Hirschfeld and the
Israeli Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF) on joint
projects.

-----------
The Concept
-----------

3. (U) Dr. Mustafa told poloff that the ACPD, in its current
proposal, seeks to move the Arab Initiative forward by
providing a non-governmental forum where Arabs and Israelis
could discuss security aspects associated with the
initiative. Mustafa told us that "because prospective
participants would be outside of government, we could be more
creative and forthcoming about discussing the envisioned
requirements of all sides." An informal paper outlining the
proposal states "the purpose of this project is to develop an
operational definition to the security aspect of the Arab
Initiative" and "encourage inter-Arab and Israeli-Arab
dialogue on issues of security. The Arab Initiative is the
clearest message yet for peaceful coexistence and normal
relations between Arab States and Israel . . . Israel's
security concerns are addressed specifically. It is the
purpose of this project to offer detailed operational meaning
to that (offer) of Arab security guarantees."

4. (U) The proposal notes the work that had been done under
the auspices of the long-suspended ACRS Working Group. The
new project would not seek to cover the same ground that ACRS
had, but rather look at "other possibilities" including:

-- security agreements which might address specific issues,
including 'non-aggression' declarations, alliances,
cooperation between intelligence agencies concerning radical
groups and individuals.

-- setting up a security forum similar to that of the OSCE

-- possible Arab contributions to an international
peacekeeping force in the region

-- Drafting a legally binding Arab declaration which might
address Israeli security concerns related both to existential
threats and those of radical organizations.

--------------------
The Proposed Project
--------------------

5. (U) According to Dr. Mustafa, the project would be
centered on a series of nine workshops organized in three
interrelated tracks taking place over the course of one year:
(1) three Jordanian-Israeli meetings on Israeli perspectives
of Arab security guarantees; (2) three Inter-Arab Security
Experts meetings on Arab perspectives of Arab security
guarantees; and (3) three Arab-Israeli security experts
meetings to bridge gaps between the 1 and 2. Meetings would
be held in Amman, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Muscat, Nicosia, and
perhaps other locations. The project would cover the costs
of participant travel to each meeting, hotel expenses, and
related conference costs. Each track would produce a report
of conclusions from the meetings.

-----------------
Costs and Funding
-----------------

6. (U) Dr. Mustafa said that the ACPD is seeking support for
this project from a number of potential donors. The Canadian
Embassy here told us that Ottawa (which has funded ACPD
activities previously) believes the current proposal is a
worthwhile project, and is looking at possible sources of GOC
funding. The ACPD also has been in contact with the NGO
"Search for Common Ground" regarding funding. The ACPD would
welcome USG funding for this project and believes it would
give the endeavor added weight.

7. (U) The ACPD estimates that the costs of hosting,
accommodating and paying travel expenses for participants in
the nine workshops envisioned would amount to roughly USD
132,000.

--------------------------
Comment and Action Request
--------------------------

8. (U) The ACPD is a small but dedicated organization that
has kept lines of communication with Israelis open under
difficult circumstances. The project they have put forth
seems to us a worthwhile endeavor that could help focus
thinking on practical aspects of the Arab-Israeli dialogue.
Post seeks the Department's assessment of the ACPD's proposed
project, the possibility of USG funding, and the types of
additional information, if any, that might be needed.
GNEHM

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