Cablegate: Jordan/Tride - Trade Ministry Ready to Engage,

R 130324Z SEP 05




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Jordan/TRIDE - Trade Ministry Ready to Engage,
Seeking Help in Locating Funds

Ref: Amman 7084

1. (SBU) Summary: Jordan's Ministry of Industry and Trade
(MOIT) says the United States and Israel can "count on" MOIT
to provide "100% support" for the Trilateral Industrial
Research and Development Fund (TRIDE). In MOIT's view, the
next step is for TRIDE management to ask the MOIT in writing
to make Jordan's $330,000 contribution. End summary.

TRIDE Now Assigned to Trade Ministry

2. (U) The Cabinet motion to transfer responsibility for
TRIDE from the Ministry of Planning (MOP) to MOIT (see ref)
was approved by the Cabinet on August 30. On September 6,
Ministry of Planning Americas Division Chief Ghaith Zureikat
faxed to the Embassy a copy of the Prime Minister's letter
to the Ministry of Planning announcing the decision.

Trade Ministry Looking Elsewhere for Funds

3. (SBU) MOIT Secretary General Montaser Oklah discussed
next steps on Jordanian engagement in TRIDE with Emboffs on
September 11. Oklah's biggest concern was finding the money
to make Jordan's $330,000 contribution, indicating that MOIT
"doesn't have a penny" to make such a contribution. EMBoffs
told him that the Ministry of Planning's former Secretary
General Tayseer Al-Smadi had said explicitly that the MOP
has the money set aside. In an indication of shifting
priorities within the GoJ, Oklah said he was surprised that
the MOP no longer seemed interested in TRIDE; in the past,
MOP fought within the GoJ to control projects like TRIDE.

4. (SBU) Oklah noted that Bilal Hmoud, Director of the
Ministry's Industrial Development Directorate, would take a
leading role in the GoJ's participation in TRIDE. He also
said he wants to get all the necessary documents, work
plans, procedures and contacts to bring MOIT up to speed
about TRIDE and rebuild its "institutional memory." He said
MOIT is now "at a disadvantage" on TRIDE, and that he wants
MOIT to be able to give "crisp, clear" answers on TRIDE
questions. EMBoffs assured him that the U.S. and Israeli
TRIDE participants were prepared to provide that information
and to meet with MOIT officials to establish ground rules,
goals and procedures so that all the partners were

Trade Ministry Wants Request for Contribution from Outside
--------------------------------------------- -------------

5. (SBU) S/G Oklah requested that a letter be sent to MOIT
from an as-yet-unspecified TRIDE partner outside the GoJ to
request that Jordan's contribution to TRIDE be transferred
as quickly as possible. Oklah's plan is to put a MOIT cover
letter on this incoming request and forward the two
documents to the Ministry of Planning, asking the Ministry
of Planning to execute the transfer.

MOIT Strongly Supports TRIDE

6. (SBU) S/G Oklah expressed strong support for TRIDE,
saying that TRIDE partners can "count on" the MOIT for "100%
support," and that his ministry "believes" in TRIDE. He
said MOIT is "happy to cooperate," and put himself forward
as the MOIT's point-of-contact for TRIDE.

7. (SBU) Comment: We think Jordan will meet its promised
contribution, perhaps with some delay. A larger issue is
whether those who control budgets at the Ministry of
Planning will support TRIDE with future infusions of money,
or whether this settlement is the end of the line. The
Ministry of Industry and Trade is unlikely to have any
financial resources to bring to the TRIDE table.


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