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Cablegate: Taiz Ngos Seek Increased Cooperation with Usg

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. (U) Summary. On November 16, emboffs visited the city of
Taiz to meet with local NGOs to discuss the Democracy
Assistance Dialogue (DAD) and Middle East Partnership
Initiative (MEPI) programs. During the two-hour meeting,
emboffs and visiting MEPIoff fielded questions and comments
on MEPI and heard opinions on how MEPI and post could better
aid Yemeni NGOs. End Summary.

A Call For More Cooperation

2. (U) On November 16, emboffs and MEPI program officer met
with NGO representatives in Taiz to discuss the DAD and MEPI
programs. The meeting, sponsored by the Taiz-based Human
Rights and Information Training Center (HRITC), attracted
over 70 participants from area NGOs, political parties,
newspapers, professional societies, and universities. After
a brief report on the DAD, discussion turned to MEPI and to
USG relations with Yemeni civil society.

3. (U) Many participants asked detailed questions about
MEPI's grant-making process. Others consistently called on
post to increase its cooperation with and attention to
Taiz-based NGOs. Rahma Saleh, a teacher at the National
Institute and a party activist with the ruling General
People's Congress (GPC), urged post to expand its efforts
beyond the capital, noting that NGOs in Taiz are also active
and need assistance. Abd al-Hamid Sultan, from the Yemeni
Studies Center, added that until the USG runs MEPI in an
"organized and balanced manner" it will not enjoy true
partnership with Yemeni civil society. Many participants
suggested that cooperation could increase if post and MEPI
increased communication with them. PolChief responded by
promising to disseminate information on post activities and
MEPI programming more widely.

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More Than Political Reform

4. (U) Participants also urged MEPI to expand its
programming, which they felt has been limited to democratic
development. Abdul-Aziz Sultan, a consultant with the
Ministry of Education and head of the Taiz Teachers'
Syndicate, noted that education is a primary local concern.
"We need help assessing and identifying our weak educational
methods," he said, "but so far we have been unable to
identify partners or programs to help us." Mohammed
al-Ariqi, Director of Youth Activities at Taiz University,
added that Taiz needs help with wastewater management.
MEPIoff replied by describing MEPI's educational and economic
reform pillars and inviting NGOs with relevant programs to
apply for small grants and, through Standing Program
Announcements, for funding to support larger projects.
Econ/Comoff added that the USG, in cooperation with the World
Bank, recently funded a Taiz Water Authority assessment
project to expand Taiz's wastewater management network.

Other Highlights

5. (U) Other highlights of the two-hour meeting included an
appeal by Dr. Abdul-Jalil al-Zuraiqi, Secretary General of
the Taiz Medical Doctors' Syndicate (known for its opposition
to the ROYG), to help protect NGOs that accept USG grants,
since the ROYG and government-controlled media commonly
portray them as "foreign agents." Another participant with
the Yemeni Socialist Party, in the one instance of political
grandstanding, warned the panel that no matter what they do,
USG policy in Palestine and Iraq will overshadow any progress
with civil society.

6. (SBU) Comment. Although the DAD was on the agenda, it was
clear that the participants were more interested in MEPI
grants. Notable was how every participant's comments were
accompanied by a call to increase contacts with his or her
NGO. In Taiz, emboffs found a sophisticated and eager NGO
community. In fact, many Yemenis claim that Taiz, the
intellectual capital of Yemen, has a more developed NGO
community than Sanaa. It is evident that increased MEPI and
post efforts to reach out to Taiz NGOs would advance Yemeni
political and economic reform. As a result of this meeting's
success, post plans to increase its outreach efforts to other
cities in the near future. End Comment.

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