Cablegate: Charge Briefs Diplomatic Corps On Visits of First
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS CAIRO 004025
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EG OVIP
SUBJECT: CHARGE BRIEFS DIPLOMATIC CORPS ON VISITS OF FIRST
LADY AND PRIME MINISTER NAZIF, ENCOURAGES OTHERS TO PRESS
EGYPT TO ACCEPT INTERNATIONAL ELECTION MONITORS
REF: A. CAIRO 3953 (NOTAL)
B. CAIRO 3952
Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.
1. (SBU) Summary. The Charge briefed the diplomatic corps
May 26 on the visits of Egyptian Prime Minister Nazif to the
United States and First Lady Laura Bush to the Middle East.
Sharing transcripts of public statements and media interviews
related to the two recent visits, the Charge offered his
analysis of the visits and answered questions on the status
of U.S.-Egyptian relations, a bilateral Free Trade Agreement,
and international monitors for Egypt's coming elections. On
the latter issue, the Charge repeated President Bush's May 7
statement in Latvia calling for acceptance of international
election monitors by Egypt and encouraged attendees to urge
their governments to similarly press Egypt to accept them.
2. (SBU) After describing the itineraries for the Prime
Minister's U.S. visit and that of the First Lady to Egypt and
the region, the Charge explained the context of their
exchanges and the content of their respective agendas. The
Charge characterized both visits as excellent and as having
contributed positively to efforts to improve the bilateral
relationship. The Prime Minister was well received and
presented a serious message to the entire spectrum of key
opinion-shapers in Washington and New York. The First Lady,
focusing on education, women's empowerment, and democratic
transformation (ref A), was equally well-received by the GOE,
with her public remarks on Egyptian political reform efforts
eliciting praise from Egyptian officials and others (ref B).
The Charge also called attention to Deputy Secretary
Zoellick's address to the World Economic Forum, commending it
to his counterparts as an authoritative overview of U.S.
policy objectives in the region.
3. (SBU) Among the questions asked by the group of 35 senior
diplomats from the G-8, the European Union, and other select
countries were whether a timetable existed for completion of
a bilateral Free Trade Agreement; whether regional political
issues were discussed with PM Nazif; details of the First
Lady's discussions with Egyptian women activists; the
meaning of President Mubarak's decision not to visit the U.S.
this year; whether the Secretary of State intended to visit
Egypt to pursue the Forum for the Future agenda; and whether
Egypt would host an Iraq conference preparatory committee
meeting in early June.
4. (SBU) Attendees expressed particular interest in the
issue of international election monitors for Egypt, with one
diplomat asking for details of USG policy on the issue and
another wondering if Deputy Secretary Zoellick's recent
public remarks on "impartial monitoring" of Egypt's elections
was intended to walk back President Bush's call for
international monitors, by signalling Washington's acceptance
of Egyptian judges playing the monitoring role alone. In
response, the Charge recalled President Bush's May 7 remarks
in Latvia in which he said Egyptian elections "should proceed
with international monitors, and with rules that allow a real
campaign." The Charge noted that Egypt already welcomes
international monitoring of its political processes via
international media observation and invitations to various
international non-governmental organizations (including the
International Republican Institute and the National
Democratic Institute) to attend the ruling party's annual
policy conferences. Allowing international monitors to
scrutinize elections (as in a multitude of countries,
including the U.S.) is now normal electoral practise, the
Charge said, and should be acceptable to Egypt. Noting the
shared goal among G-8 and other colleagues to encourage
Egypt's acceptance of international election monitors, the
Charge called upon his colleagues to encourage their own
capitals to press the GOE to accept monitors for coming
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