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Cablegate: Tfizo1: Amman Sitrep 18 (3/29 1100 Local)

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 001875

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR AMGT ASEC CASC CVIS EFIN ETRD IZ JO
SUBJECT: TFIZO1: AMMAN SITREP 18 (3/29 1100 LOCAL)

REF: (A) FBIS EUP20030328000120

----------------
General Overview
----------------

1. (SBU) The Embassy is closed March 29 for the Jordanian
weekend. It will open for regular business on Sunday, March
30. The movement of American staff remains restricted.

---------------
Consular Issues
---------------

2. (SBU) Embassy's Crisis Liaison Unit received e-mail from
Task Force 1, CA with information that the Iraqi Government
is planning to expel from Baghdad a Christian Peacemaker Team
with five Amcits this morning (3/29), along with two other
Amcits. Group expects to travel along the Baghdad-Amman
highway and is concerned they may be fired on. Information
has been passed on to Task Force West personnel in the
Embassy.

----------------------
GOJ Actions/Statements
----------------------

3. (U) FM Marwan Muasher, in a 3/28 interview with the
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera (ref A), reiterated
that "there have not been, there are not, and there will not
be any attacks on Iraq from our territory or from our air
space. The rumors circulating in that sense are false."
While acknowledging that U.S. soldiers are in the Kingdom
manning Patriot missile batteries, and for logistics and
defensive operations, Muasher stated "there are no troops
preparing offensive operations against Iraq. I rule that out
categorically and I challenge anyone to provide proof to the
contrary." On political relations with the U.S., Muasher
noted "we have differences, including of a substantial
nature, with the United States with this war, but our
relations with Washington are solid and strong, both on the
political and on the economic level. No one can question
that." On the outcome of the current situation, Muasher
stated "There is no doubt about who is going to win this war,
but a military victory is not necessarily a political
victory. The thought of imposing democracy in the Arab world
is infantile. Democracy is built up through participation;
Iraq must belong to the Iraqis."

--------
Security
--------

4. (U) No new issues

-------------------------------
Economic and Trade Developments
-------------------------------

5. (U) No new issues.

---------------------------
Refugee/Humanitarian Issues
---------------------------

6. (U) No new issues.

-----
Press
-----

7. (SBU) At approximately 0100, Embassy Press Officer was
contacted by Lisa Barron of CBS Radio, who said that five of
the journalists who had gone missing from Baghdad in recent
days had arrived in Syria, and one had arrived in Jordan.
According to Barron, she had received information that Molly
Bingham (Amcit freelance photographer), Matthew McAllester
(UK citizen and Newsday journalist), Moises Saman (Spanish
citizen and Newsday photographer), Philip Robert Latasa
(Amcit peace activist) and Johan Deng Spanner (Danish
photographer) had safely arrived in Syria. She also reported
that Nate Thayer (Amcit journalist for Esquire and Slate.com)
had arrived in Jordan. Embassy conveyed this information to
CMS Task Force 1J-PA at 0130 local via e-mail.

GNEHM

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