Cablegate: Bahrain Supports Bmena Institute

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 190772
B. STATE 186398

1. (U) The Ambassador met with Bahraini Minister of Finance
and National Economy Abdullah Saif September 7 to discuss the
October 1 meeting of finance ministers on the G8 Broader
Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) initiative (Ref A), the
IFC's Private Enterprise Partnership for the Middle East and
North Africa (IFC Facility) (Ref B) and the upcoming signing
of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) (septel).
Saif confirmed that he would attend the October 1 meeting
chaired by Treasury Secretary Snow and passed a copy of his
letter to Secretary Snow confirming his attendance. (We will
fax it to NEA/ARPI.) Regarding the proposed agenda, Saif
said Arab ministers were now considering the draft and would
provide a joint response.

2. (U) Saif also confirmed Bahrain remains interested in
hosting the entrepreneurship center in Bahrain. A diplomatic
note sent to the Embassy dated September 8 affirms Bahrain's
desire to host "an Institute for Entrepreneurship Training
and Development along the lines of the preliminary proposal
(Bahrain) prepared in May 2004 for the Sea Island
discussion," and that the center would be subject to
"adequate funding for the initiative." The letter further
clarifies that Bahrain would provide the space for the
facility but that it would be "a separate Institute, not part
of the existing Institute of Banking and Finance, but
parallel to it and building on" BFIF's experience.

3. (U) In a follow-on conversation, Saif's financial advisor
Vivian Brown told EconOff that Bahrain wanted to limit its
participation to providing space for the Institute, and that
Bahrain was unlikely to be able to contribute funds to
support its activities, particularly in the payment of
instructors. He added that he expected the Minister would be
prepared to discuss this further at the October 1 meeting.

4. (U) On the subject of the IFC facility, Saif said Bahrain
would limit its participation to a contribution "in kind".
He reviewed his recent conversation with Treasury U/S Taylor
on this subject, noting he believed there was no lack of
resources in the region and discussed with Taylor how to
"network those funds." Saif is now waiting for a concept
paper from U/S Taylor on this issue.

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