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Cablegate: Uae Humanitarian Assistance to the Palestinan Territories,

VZCZCXRO5296
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHAD #4474/01 3481304
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141304Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7869
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0523
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 0548
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0177
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0340
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0998
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0273

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABU DHABI 004474

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/ARP, NEA/RA, NEA/I, SCA
STATE PASS TO USAID

E.O. 12958: DECL N/A
TAGS: EAID PHUM KPAL IZ AF AE

SUBJECT: UAE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINAN TERRITORIES,
IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN AND LEBANON IN 2006

REF: A. 04 ABU DHABI 4218
B. 05 ABU DHABI 3266

1. (U) BEGIN SUMMARY: The UAE provides humanitarian assistance to
the Palestinians, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon primarily through
its three quasi-governmental charities: the UAE Red Crescent
Society (RCS), the Sheikh Zayed Foundation (ZF), and the Dubai-based
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity Foundation (MRCF). On
December 10, Econoffs met with Red Crescent officials to discuss
their humanitarian projects in the Middle East. Although there are
no official figures of UAE humanitarian assistance available, post
has consolidated information from press reports and UAE Red Crescent
data for a better picture of UAE humanitarian assistance in 2006.
UAE charitable organizations provided 14.32 million USD in
assistance to the Palestinian territories in 2006. In addition, the
UAE agreed to provide 100 million USD to build Sheikh Khalifa City
in Gaza. In 2006, the UAE Red Crescent donated 3.9 million USD to
Iraq, 8 million USD to Afghanistan and 25.89 million USD to Lebanon
as well as food, medicine and other relief supplies. In addition,
the UAEG pledged 20 million USD to the U.N. Program for the Relief
of Lebanon. This cable focuses on quasi-governmental and non
governmental humanitarian aid, not official economic development
assistance or security/military assistance. END SUMMARY.

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------------------------
PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
-----------------------

2. (SBU) During a December 10 meeting with Econoffs, Dr. Saleh Al
Taie, UAE Red Crescent Relief and Emergency Department Manager and
Saleh Mohammed Al Mullah, Director General of the Relief and
Emergency Department, discussed the Red Crescent's humanitarian
assistance to Palestine. The Red Crescent officials explained that
all assistance is done through official channels, in coordination
with the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government, UNRWA,
UNICEF, and the International Red Cross. Red Crescent officials said
they work with two affiliate offices in the Palestinian territories,
one in Gaza and the other in Jerusalem.

3. (U) In 2006, the UAE Red Crescent Society (RCS) provided
approximately 4.3 million USD in assistance to the Palestinian
territories in the form of medicine and other relief supplies. In
October, RCS, in collaboration with the Palestinian Forum for
Development, oversaw a one million USD charity campaign sponsored by
the UAE President to support orphans and the disabled and unemployed
in the Palestinian territories. The RCS allocated another one
million USD for "Iftars" (breakfast meals during the holy month of
Ramadan, September/October). The RCS distributed about 200,000 meals
to Palestinians under this project. On December 13, the RCS signed
agreements with the UN to fund two construction projects in Gaza and
the West Bank. The RCS pledged 2.17 million USD for the rebuilding
of houses in Gaza and 3.5 million USD for the rebuilding of homes in
the West Bank.

4. (U) In 2006, the Sheikh Zayed Foundation (ZF) pledged 5.9 million
USD for health and social projects in coordination with the National
Palestinian Authority and UNRWA. In addition, the Sheikh Mohammed
bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity Foundation (MRCF) announced a 2.72
million USD fund to provide urgent drugs for treatment of kidney
disease, cancer and diabetes at Palestinian hospitals. The Emirates
Charitable Work Authority financed a 400,000 USD factory for
artificial limbs in the West Bank.

5. (U) In March 2006, the UAE Department of Municipalities and
Agriculture and representatives from the Palestinian Authority
signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a 100 million USD
housing complex(Sheikh Khalifa City)in Rafah, Gaza. Sheikh Khalifa
City's foundation stone was laid on October 5, 2005 by UAE Foreign
Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a ceremony attended
by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The development will include
housing units, schools, health centers and other facilities. It will
accommodate 30,000-40,000 displaced Palestinians

-----
IRAQ
-----

6. (SBU) On December 10, RCS officials told Econoff that the RCS
provided 38.9 million USD in assistance to Iraq from 2002-2006. RCS
officials also said that at the beginning of 2006, the RCS launched

ABU DHABI 00004474 002 OF 003


a relief program spending 1.7 million USD to support Iraqis who
faced severe weather conditions. Over 4,050 food parcels, mineral
water and blankets were distributed by the RCS in collaboration with
the UAE Embassy in Baghdad (which subsequently ceased active
coordination in the summer of 2006 due to the security situation in
Iraq) to 10,000 displaced people and 7,000 orphans in Baghdad,
Basra, and Kurdistan. Assistance was also provided to the families
of "martyrs" and wounded in Alsadr city. During Ramadan, the RCS
launched a 2.2 million USD "Iftar" project in Iraq to provide free
meals.

7. (SBU) According to media reports, and confirmed in a December 10
meeting with Red Crescent authorities, the UAE has also provided
medical treatment and rehabilitation for hundreds of Iraqi children.
Children suffering from chronic disease and those socially,
psychologically or physically affected by the on-going violence
received treatment in the UAE. Red Crescent officials told Econoff
that the UAE Red Crescent's office in Iraq has distributed what
officials describe as "a huge quantity of medicines and medical
necessities to Iraqi hospitals."

8. (SBU) During the aforementioned December 10 meeting, officials
from the RCS also told Econoff that they do not have any more funds
available for assistance to Iraq, but said they are ready to begin
fund raising campaigns if the UAEG tells them to do so. RCS
officials said that they closed their offices in Iraq after the
kidnapping of UAE diplomat Naji Al Noaimi this past summer.

-----------
AFGHANISTAN
-----------

9. (U) Local UAE newspapers reported that 70 percent of Sheikh Zayed
City in Kabul, which cost 4 million USD, has been completed this
year. The city includes 200 residential units, a mosque, two schools
and a medical clinic. In addition, more than 1,000 wells were
drilled in Kabul and Jalalabad in 2006. The RCS continued to send
assistance to Afghanistan, including food parcels, flour, cooking
oil, Iftar meals, clothes and school bags. The RCS's office in Kabul
has provided humanitarian assistance to 571 orphans sponsored by the
RCS in Afghanistan.

10. (U) The Sheikh Zayed Foundation (ZF) has agreed to build a 4
million USD maternity and pediatric clinic in Afghanistan.

11. (U) According to press reports, during the visit of Afghan
President Hamed Karzai to the UAE last May, Karzai met with the
Governor of the UAE Central Bank, Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, who
emphasized enhancing the ongoing cooperation between the UAE Central
Bank and the Central Bank of Afghanistan, particularly in training.
UAE Education Minister, Dr. Hanif Hassan, also expressed the UAE's
commitment to help Afghanistan rebuild its educational
infrastructure.

--------
LEBANON
--------

12. (SBU) RCS officials told Econoff that the bulk of UAE
humanitarian assistance to Lebanon was due to the war between
Hizballah and Israel in July, 2006. The UAE sent relief supplies,
through a quickly-arranged "air bridge" with daily flights carrying
aid to Beirut, reconstructed schools and hospitals, and built
shelters for displaced Lebanese. The UAEG pledged 20 million USD to
the UN Program for the Relief of Lebanon. UAE aid included more
than 4,000 tons of relief materials, 20,000 food packages, 112
electricity generators, 25,000 gifts to orphans, 3,000 Iftar meals
during Ramadan, as well as medicines, lamps, blankets, milk,
vaccines, and tents.

13. (U) UAE humanitarian assistance to Lebanon is mainly channeled
through the RCS and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Charity
Foundation (MRCF). In July, the RCS and MRCF in collaboration with
the Emirati-Lebanese Friendship Association, Arab Media Group (AMG),
and Dubai Media Corporation (DMC) launched an effective "Their
Children are Ours" campaign which raised 14.97 million USD in
support of Lebanon.

14. (SBU) On December 10, RCS Deputy Secretary General for Relief &
Emergency, Saleh Al Mulla told Econoff that RCS assistance to

ABU DHABI 00004474 003 OF 003


Lebanon since July 2006 totaled 15.25 million USD. (14.97 million
USD of this money was raised in the fundraising campaign and an
additional .28 million USD was provided by the RCS for a total
donation of 15.25 million USD.) The RCS has also sent 35 planes
loaded with thousands of tons of basic relief supplies and a ship
carrying 2500 tons of food.

15. (U) In August 2006, the MRCF announced its plan for health,
education, and reconstruction projects for Lebanon. MRCF's Deputy
Chairman of Trustees, Ibrahim bu Melhah, told the press that his
foundation had allocated 10.89 million USD for its humanitarian plan
in Lebanon.

16. (U) MRCF sent 721 tons of relief supplies to Lebanon during the
crisis. It also pledged to build 1000 temporary houses in Lebanon
for returning refugees and established 18 temporary camps to
accommodate displaced people. In addition, MRCF donated 2 million
USD to 91 fishermen and 325 boat owners.

17. (U) The MRCF also signed an agreement with the Syrian Red
Crescent Society to serve daily meals to more than 5,000 displaced
Lebanese located in Syria. The agreement also allows the UAE Red
Crescent to store 200 tons of relief materials in Syria and to set
up 27 shelters and two health centers for Lebanese refugees living
in Syria.

18. (U) Both the RCS and the MRCF have delivered medicine and
ambulances and pledged to build hospitals in Marjayoun, bint Jubeil
and Arquop and create a mobile hospital project in southern Lebanon.
The UAE Ministry of Health has also dispatched medical relief
air-cargoes including electro-cardiographs, portable cardiac
resuscitation equipment, 24,000 cans of infant formula and 6500
units of basic foodstuffs.

19. (U) The UAE "Emirates Initiative for Support and Reconstruction
of Lebanon (EISRL)" offered to rebuild 216 schools damaged in the
war. To date, 191 schools have already been completed. In September
2006, the UAE President offered to pay for the textbooks and school
supplies of 400,000 Lebanese students.

QUINN

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