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Cablegate: Tfle01: Siniora Says He Is Ready to Request An

VZCZCXRO0769
OO RUEHAG RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK
DE RUEHLB #2469/01 2061617
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251617Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4783
INFO RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME IMMEDIATE 0484
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 0657
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIRUT 002469

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/SINGH/HARDING
LONDON FOR TSOU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2031
TAGS: PINS MOPS PTER KPKO LE IS
SUBJECT: TFLE01: SINIORA SAYS HE IS READY TO REQUEST AN
INTERNATIONAL STABILIZATION FORCE

BEIRUT 00002469 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: Ambassador Jeffrey D. Feltman for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d
).

SUMMARY
-------

1. (C/NF) In a 7/25 meeting, Prime Minister Siniora, after
much prodding, told the Ambassador that he was ready to make
a public call for the deployment of an international
stabilization force in southern Lebanon. (He said he would
do so at a 7/26 Core Group conference in Rome.) He urged
that the USG help identify functions for the force that would
make it appear more "palliative" within Lebanon -- civil
affairs functions, for example. While there was still "a lot
of convincing" to do in making the case for such a force,
Siniora was optimistic that Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri
was ready to "engage" on it if Shebaa Farms was an explicit
part of the package. End summary.

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SINIORA WILL MAKE THE CASE
FOR NEW INTERNATIONAL FORCE
---------------------------

2. (C/NF) After a complex shell game managed by Prime
Minister Siniora's staff, in which the Ambassador and emboff,
the Saudi Ambassador, Hamas representative Oussama Hamdan,
pro-Hizballah Labor Minister Trad Hamadeh, and Lebanese
Forces leader Samir Ja'ja' were shuffled in and out of
Siniora's office in a way that, for the most part, kept them
from running into one another in the hallway, the Ambassador
and emboff called on Siniora on July 25.

3. (C/NF) In the meeting, the Ambassador followed up the
Secretary's visit the previous day by asking Siniora -- who

SIPDIS
was joined by his advisors Mohamad Chatah and Rola Noureddine
-- whether the Lebanese government could make a public call
for deployment of an international stabilization force in
southern Lebanon. While the mandate of such a force --
unlike UNFIL, which it would replace -- would have to address
Hizballah disarmament, the Lebanese government could make its
request in terms of what it has been calling for since the
current crisis began, such as protection of the local
population, the Ambassador suggested.

4. (C/NF) After much prodding and thinking outloud, Siniora
eventaully said that this could be done, although expressed
in terms of "what Lebanon needs." Later in the conversation,
he told the Ambassador that he would insert a call for an
international stabilization force in his prepared remarks for
the July 26 Core Group meeting in Rome. In the meantime, it
would help to create functions for the force that would make
it more "palliative." This might include civil affairs
functions that benefited the local population.

STILL "A LOT OF CONVINCING" TO DO
---------------------------------

5. (C/NF) Siniora said that there is still "a lot of
convincing that we have to do" in making the case for an
international stabilization force. He had been "trying to
tell everyone" that such a force could help deliver
much-needed humanitarian assistance, for example. He
described Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri -- the most
prominent non-Hizballah politician in the Shia community --
as "ready to engage" on the issue; Berri simply needed some
"latitude." In his approach to Berri, Siniora was
emphasizing the risks Lebanon faced if it did not proceed,
and the advantages -- to Lebanon as well as to Berri
specifically -- that could be realized if it did.

ONE "PACKAGE" WITH SHEBAA FARMS
-------------------------------

6. (C/NF) To make an international stabilization force more
palatable within Lebanon, Siniora said, it was necessary to
include it in a "package" that was widely recognized as
"good" and "necessary." This made it essential to include a
resolution of the Shebaa Farms in any such "package." This
was a particularly important element in winning Berri's
support. Outside Lebanon, it was necessary to attain
unanimity on the UN Security Council on the force's mandate.
Finally, it was necessary to assemble those countries that

BEIRUT 00002469 002.2 OF 002

could apply pressure on Iran and Syria, the likely spoilers.
Those countries were Russia, China, Turkey, and Pakistan, he
said.

POSITIVE ABOUT U.S. APPROACH
----------------------------

7. (C/NF) Siniora expressed approval of Secretary Rice's
approach to finding a sustainable end to ongoing
Hizballah-Israeli hostilities. Siniora described it as a
realization that the "time to deal with symptoms is over."
In its place, there was now U.S. movement towards an approach
addressing the "causes" of the current crisis, Siniora said.
FELTMAN

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