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Cablegate: Mcc: "Can We Sign During Saleh's Visit?"

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

1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador Krajeski met with Deputy Prime
Minister Ahmed Sofan on October 17, to discuss the November
visit of President Saleh to Washington. Sofan said the ROYG
would like to see Saleh sign the Millennium Challenge
Threshold agreement during the visit. The ROYG has eagerly
pursued this program since 2003, culminating in Yemen's
acceptance in the threshold program in 2004. Sofan made
clear that the ROYG views acceptance of its threshold
proposal as an indication of America's overall political
engagement with Yemen. End Summary.

2. (SBU) If Yemen were to be excluded from MCC, Sofan told
the Ambassador, it would indicate that the United States was
disengaging or "giving up" on Yemen. Ambassador agreed on
the importance of MCC to U.S.-Yemen bilateral relations and
explained that MCC is focusing on Yemen's qualifications for
the program. MCC will meet again this week and make
recommendations to the MCC Board.

3. (SBU) Sofan was concerned about creating the proper
outlook for Yemen's development challenges, saying: "We have
good intentions. Look at the progress that has been made in
the last 15 years." During recent visits, he sought out
World Bank Institute Vice President Frannie Leautier and
Transparency International representatives to discover how
they compile statistics on Yemen. Learning that such
information is obtained from local sources such as press, NGO
reports, and government reports, Sofan theorized that Yemen's
relative openness compared to the rest of the Middle East is
negatively influencing economic, political, and developmental
indicators: "The problem with Yemen is that we are open in an
area of secrecy."

4. (SBU) Sofan hoped that the MCC decision-makers will view
Yemen's situation in a positive light. Yemen is trying to
jump from the 10th to the 21st century, said Sofan, a fact
not adequately reflected in any indicators.

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