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Cablegate: A/S Wayne's Bilateral Meetins in Abu Dhabi

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Diana T Fritz 03/15/2007 03:06:57 PM From DB/Inbox: Search Results

Cable
Text:


UNCLASSIFIED

SIPDIS
TELEGRAM March 14, 2004


To: No Action Addressee

Action: Unknown

From: AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI (ABU DHABI 716 - ROUTINE)

TAGS: ECON, ETRD, EFIN, PTER, ETTC

Captions: None

Subject: A/S WAYNE'S BILATERAL MEETINS IN ABU DHABI DURING THE
IRAQ DONORS' MEETING

Ref: None
_________________________________________________________________
UNCLAS ABU DHABI 00716

SIPDIS
CXABU:
ACTION: POL
INFO: RSO P/M ECON AMB DCM

DISSEMINATION: POL
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: DCM:RALBRIGHT
DRAFTED: ECON:OJOHN
CLEARED: NONE

VZCZCADI698
RR RUEHC RUEHDI RUEHZM RUEATRS RUEKJCS
DE RUEHAD #0716/01 0740923
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140923Z MAR 04
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3579
INFO RUEHDI/AMCONSUL DUBAI 3838
RUEHZM/GCC COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/TREASURY DEPT WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABU DHABI 000716

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EB, EB/IFD, NEA/ARP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD EFIN PTER ETTC IZ TC
SUBJECT: A/S WAYNE'S BILATERAL MEETINS IN ABU DHABI
DURING THE IRAQ DONORS' MEETING


1. (SBU) Summary: The UAE hosted Iraq Donors'
Conference concluded successfully on February 29 with
the launch of the UN/WB Trust Funds, which received
pledges of about one billion dollars (septel). The
UAEG did not pledge the $10 million to the trust fund
necessary to join the donors committee, but UAEG
officials told A/S Wayne that they were working to get
approval to make that pledge. A/S Wayne also held
bilateral meetings with UAEG officials, where he
thanked the UAEG for its cooperation on Iraq and in
fighting terrorist financing. He also explained the
TIFA process and pointed out that improving labor
rights would be key, not only to "reopening" OPIC, but
also for any future trade liberalization. End
Summary.

----------------
Iraq and the UAE
----------------

2. (U) Assistant Secretary Wayne led a U.S. delegation
to the UAE-Hosted multilateral donors' committee
meetings for Iraq on February 28 and 29. The meetings
concluded successfully in confirming that the donors,
the UN, and the World Bank were all cooperating on
behalf of the Iraqis. The Iraqis explained their
development and reconstruction priorities, and the
donors launched trust funds to be administered by the
UN and World Bank, which received pledges of about one
billion dollars. Press coverage was extensive,
including interviews with A/S Wayne and Ambassador
Raphel. The Iraqis, the World Bank, and the UN took a
very public lead in dealings with the press, with the
CPA playing a more supporting role. Despite the
relatively short notice, the UAE did an excellent job
in hosting the event and in providing logistical
support to delegations from over 30 countries. In a
sidebar meeting, the Director General of the Arab
Monetary Fund expressed his interest in future
cooperation on Iraqi reconstruction. (Detailed report
of donor conference septel.)

3. (SBU) In his bilateral meetings with Minister of
State for Finance and Industry Dr. Mohammed Khalfan
bin Khirbash and MFA Assistant Under Secretary
Abdullah Rashid Al-Noaimi, A/S Wayne thanked the UAEG
for its cooperation on Iraqi reconstruction and urged
them to participate in the donors' group by pledging
to the UN/WB Trust Fund. Dr. Khirbash noted that the
efforts on Iraqi reconstruction highlighted the
multilateral commitment to Iraq. He added that he
thought this was the first instance that all of the UN
and affiliated agencies were working under one
umbrella. A/S Wayne noted that the international
community had tried to coordinate efforts in
Afghanistan and had learned from the Afghanistan
example on how to better coordinate donor efforts.
A/S Wayne also explained that the other lesson from
Afghanistan was the need for the recipient country to
do a better job of coordinating assistance and needs
assessments. For that reason, the CPA and the Iraqis
were working to have the Ministry of Planning
coordinate all donors' activities for the Iraqis. Dr.
Khirbash suggested that it would be a good idea if
there were regional representatives on the donors'
committee and suggested Oman, Qatar, and the UAE. A/S
Wayne used that opportunity to press the UAEG to
commit its $10 million to the UN trust fund, noting
that it could not be a member of the donors' committee
until it made a commitment. Dr. Khirbash said that he
was working on getting the UAEG to make a commitment.
(Note: Al-Noaimi also told A/S Wayne and EconChief
that he favored having the UAE commit to the UN trust
fund, but that he was still trying to get approval
from his superiors.)

------------
Trade issues
------------

4. (SBU) A/S Wayne also discussed the March 15 TIFA
signing ceremony and trade issues with Dr. Khirbash
and Al-Noaimi. A/S Wayne explained the President's
vision for a Middle East Free Trade Area developing
over the next ten years. Dr. Khirbash commented that
the countries in the region were at different stages
of economic development. A/S Wayne explained that,
for that reason, the USG preferred to negotiate FTAs
bilaterally rather than multilaterally. Dr. Khirbash
explained that he thought the UAE could play a
catalytic role in regional economic development and,
therefore, would be an excellent candidate for a FTA
with the U.S.

5. (SBU) A/S Wayne stressed that the USG was very
interested in working with the UAEG on trade issues.
He explained that the TIFA discussions were important
steps in identifying any issues that could hinder the
development of closer trade relations. He stressed
that resolving labor issues was key to reopening OPIC
coverage and would also be an important factor in
developing closer trade relations between the UAE and
the U.S. He urged the UAE to make progress quickly in
the area.

-------------------
Terrorist Financing
-------------------

6. (SBU) A/S Wayne also met with Central Bank Governor
Sultan Nasser Al-Suwaidi and thanked him for the
UAEG's cooperation in the fight against terrorist
financing. Al-Suwaidi briefly discussed hawalas,
explaining that the UAEG was encouraging them to
register and become part of the formal financial
system. (Note: Over 100 hawalas have registered so
far.) He expected to cover more details on hawalas
during the 2nd Hawala conference on April 3-4.

7. (SBU) Al-Suwaidi also briefly discussed the
regulation of charities. He stated that no one wanted
money donated for religious purposes to fund
criminals. For that reason, it was important to know
where the money was going. Efforts to identify
remitters and receivers, he said, did not contradict
any religious teachings. Al-Suwaidi noted that the
Ministry of Labor registered charities and that the
Central Bank's Anti Money Laundering and Suspicious
Cases Unit (AMLSCU - The UAE's Financial Intelligence
Unit) worked with other UAE ministries on internal
procedures to prevent diversion of funds from
charities.

8. (SBU) A/S Wayne also asked whether Al-Suwaidi
wanted to raise any outstanding issues with him. Al-
Suwaidi stated that he thought most of the outstanding
issues were being resolved. For its part, AMLSCU was
responding to Fincen's requests for information on a
regular basis. "They come in and they go out" by
email. He also noted that the AMLSCU was starting to
get responses back from the US and other countries.

------------------------------
Greater Middle East Initiative
------------------------------

9. (SBU) A/S Wayne also took advantage of his meetings
to explain the Greater Middle East Initiative. He
stressed that the U.S. was trying to support the
efforts of reformers in the region, not/not to impose
its own vision of reform on the Middle East. He asked
Al-Suwaidi for his views on how the USG could assist.
Al-Suwaidi stated that one of the biggest problems in
the Middle East was the limited trade among countries
in the region, adding that the best action countries
in the region could take would be to lower their trade
barriers with each other. Instead of talking about
grandiose regional FTAs, he suggested a more practical
approach of eliminating tariffs on a small number of
commodities. Once they realized the benefits of lower
trade barriers on a few commodities, they could
progressively reduce trade barriers on more
commodities. He also stated that he thought that the
countries in the Middle East needed technical
assistance in areas such as improving the legal
infrastructure and perhaps funding for large
infrastructure rather than normal project funding. He
noted that there were a number of regional development
banks in the GCC and that there was not necessarily a
shortage of capital for project funding. What might
be useful would be a forum where economic policy could
be discussed (including with the World Bank and the
IMF) and where technical assistance to support reform
could be mobilized, Al-Suwaidi said.

10. (SBU) At the Ambassador's reception, A/S Wayne and Dr.
Jassim Al-Mannai, Director General of the Arab
Monetary Fund, discussed the AMF's work to train Iraqi
Central Bank officials and its potential to promote
economic reform in Iraq. Dr. Jassim explained that
the AMF supported economic reform throughout the
region and expressed willingness to cooperate with us
on any broader regional efforts.

11. (SBU) This message has been cleared by A/S Wayne.

WAHBA

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