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Cablegate: Bahrain: Mena-Oecd Investment and Governance

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

UNCLAS MANAMA 000455

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR NEA/ARPI DBERNS, EB/IFD/OIA JFINN, AND INL/C/CP
DLUNA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON EINV KCRM PGOV BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAIN: MENA-OECD INVESTMENT AND GOVERNANCE
INITIATIVES

REF: STATE 49933

Sensitive but unclassified; please protect accordingly. Not
for Internet distribution.

1. (SBU) Investment Program: Per reftel, Economic
Development Board (EDB) Deputy Chairman Zakaria Hejres told
the Ambassador March 23 that Bahrain established its Country
Economic Team for the MENA-OECD Investment program in
September 2004. The team includes representatives from the
government, business, and civil society. The Ministry of
Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinate public sector
participation. The team is developing white papers on reform
implementation strategies for the working group meetings. In
response to the Ambassador's question on the clout of the
interagency team, Zakaria said Bahrain is fully committed to
the investment initiative and will work with the OECD on
analysis and implementing recommendations. The MENA-OECD
investment initiative complements on-going Bahraini labor and
economic reforms programs.

2. (U) In an effort to demonstrate Bahrain's commitment to
the MENA-OECD initiative, Hejres hosted a "MENA-OECD National
Team Dinner" March 22 for journalists, Ambassadors, and
members of the private sector to honor the five working
groups working on the initiative.

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3. (SBU) MFA Director for Bilateral Affairs Dr. Dhafer Al
Umran told PolEcon chief March 21 that Bahrain had offered to
be the location of the MENA-OECD investment initiative
headquarters. Egypt and Abu Dhabi had made similar offers.
Al Umran requested United States' support for designating
Bahrain as the location for the headquarters and he asked
that the U.S. advocate on behalf of Bahrain with Germany, the
UK, Japan, Turkey, and France. Al Umran said Bahrain would
ask Morocco, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Lebanon for
their support. He said that designating Bahrain as the
headquarters would help support the Crown Prince's campaign
to establish Bahrain as a regional investment center and
would complement the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement.

4. (SBU) Governance Program: Post will follow up with the
Prime Minister's office on the MENA-OECD Governance Program.

MONROE

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