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Cablegate: Maldives Scorecard Delivered, Embassy Urges Consideration

VZCZCXRO5210
RR RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #1731 2930540
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200540Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4516
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0077
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 9508
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 6413
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 4464
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 2036
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 6966
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001731

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/IDF/ODF AND SCA/INS

MCC FOR D NASSIRY AND E BURKE

E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL PGOV ETRD ECON KMCA MCC MV
SUBJECT: MALDIVES SCORECARD DELIVERED, EMBASSY URGES CONSIDERATION
OF MALDIVES

REF: STATE 159723

1. SUMMARY: DCM and EconOff met with Dr. Mohamed Asim, Maldives
High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, to discuss the Millennium Challenge
Corporation's (MCC's) scorecard, Maldives' designation as a
Candidate country, and the fact that the MCC Board must still
determine whether to invite Maldives to discussions on possible MCC
assistance. Embassy strongly supports the selection of Maldives for
receipt of MCC assistance, and urges special consideration for this
moderate Islamic nation that is friendly toward the US and will
likely be a model recipient of MCC aid. End Summary.

2. During the meeting at the High Commission, Asim became familiar
with MCC's purposes and its methods of selecting countries. (Note:
When an appropriate USG official is not available to visit Maldives
in a sufficient amount of time, it is the Embassy's practice to
communicate with the Government of Maldives via their High
Commission in Colombo. End Note.) He learned that Maldives has,
for the first time, been listed as a Candidate country, among 99
countries, and that this does not mean that Maldives will
necessarily be invited to request MCC assistance.

3. In an effort to manage the Government of Maldives' (GOM's)
expectations, we informed the High Commissioner that the MCC's
budget for Lower Middle Income Countries is limited to 25 percent of
available funds. We also advised that that MCC is expected to focus
on larger countries, to demonstrate a greater impact for a larger
population.

4. COMMENT: Maldives, a pro-US moderate Islamic nation taking
steps toward increased democracy, is a country with significant
potential for success under MCC. Maldives has a capable civil
service that is well educated and wants to improve. It has seen
significant economic development over the last several decades
through promotion of resort hotels, but faces significant challenges
in fulfilling its desire to diversify its economy and continue
improving the economic well-being of its less fortunate citizens.
Post urges MCC officials to seriously consider Maldives as an
eligible country for FY07, and stands ready to provide any
assistance required by MCC to make such a decision.

BLAKE

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