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Cablegate: Preparations for Gsd Talks in Manama, November 1

VZCZCXRO5862
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHMK #0956/01 2951229
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221229Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7321
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANAMA 000956

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR PM AND NEA
OSD FOR JESS KELSO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/22/2017
TAGS: PREL MARR MASS BA
SUBJECT: PREPARATIONS FOR GSD TALKS IN MANAMA, NOVEMBER 1

REF: MANAMA 894 Classified By: DCM Christopher Henzel for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(C) Poloff met October 21 with the GOB's Gulf Security Dialogue (GSD) coordinator, MFA Undersecretary for Coordination and Follow Up Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa. Sheikh Abdulaziz confirmed that Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa will chair the U.S.-Bahrain meeting of the GSD November 1 in Manama. The CP hopes to use the meeting to strengthen an already solid bilateral relationship, with a focus on assessing progress on action items identified during the March 2007 talks in Washington. During the March discussions, the GOB tabled a discussion paper outlining the areas in which it desired U.S. assistance or closer coordination. (Post has faxed a copy of the March paper to NEA/ARP.) Sheikh Abdulaziz said the Crown Prince will want to hear updates from the U.S. delegation on the following items from the March paper: --section 1, Enhanced Defensive Capabilities and Cooperation (FMS/FMF/EDA/1206 assistance, bilateral and multilateral exercises, Bilateral Air Defense Initiative (BADI), maritime security), --section 3, Critical Infrastructure Protection (joint strategy to protect desalinization plants and other critical infrastructure), --section 4, Counterterrorism and Internal Security (centralized information system for anti-terrorism agencies, border control information sharing and interoperability, GCC "Virtual" Regional Counter Terrorist Center), --section 5, Counterproliferation (PSI, national early warning and detection systems, local detection systems, civil protection, decontamination equipment and measures, medical planning, IAEA membership and cooperation), and --section 7, New Initiatives (Military Planning Committee, Regional Maritime Coordination and Control Center, support for Bahrain's political reforms). -------------------------------- Other Topics Likely to Be Raised --------------------------------

3.(C) In addition to the topics Sheikh Abdulaziz identified above, we recommend the U.S. delegation be prepared to discuss the following additional issues: --Missile defense. Bahrain cannot afford to purchase outright its own Patriot missile defense systems. Bahrain continues to hope to find another way to obtain Patriot coverage. Admiral Fallon offered to conduct a Patriot exercise in Bahrain (reftel) during his visit in September; accordingly, CENTCOM planners expect to deploy one Patriot battery to Bahrain as part of exercise Eagle Resolve (April/May 08). --F-16 upgrades. Bahrain is interested in upgrading the avionics of its 21 F-16s (total cost approximately $300M), but will require significant assistance with the financing. Admiral Fallon committed his staff to explore lower cost alternatives during his meeting with the Defense Minister in September (reftel). --Iran. The Crown Prince has counseled that Iran's interference in Iraq is a threat not just to Iraq's stability, but to the stability of the region as a whole. The GOB is convinced that Iran's nuclear program is military in nature and wants to see continued tightening of the sanctions regime to force Teheran to give up its nuclear ambitions. Bahraini officials will ask for elaboration on recent public statements of the President and Vice President on Iran. --Iraq. Militarily, Bahrain provides staff support for Task Force 150 and operational support for Task Force 152 in the form of a frigate and two corvettes, which patrol Bahraini coastal waters. The BDF will take command of Task Force 152 in March 2008.

4.(C) We suggest the GSD delegation consider making the following additional points: MANAMA 00000956 002 OF 002 --Acknowledge the long history of military cooperation between the U.S. and Bahrain, most notably through the hosting of NAVCENT. Reaffirm the commitment of the U.S. Navy to Bahrain. --Praise GOB's support for OEF, OIF, and U.S. policy on Iran and Iraq. --Congratulate BDF on taking command of Task Force 152 in March 2008. --Pledge continued close coordination with Bahrain on regional issues through the GCC plus 2 and GSD initiatives. --Emphasize the importance of continued political reform and participation. Praise the return of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Pledge continued support for the democratization process. --Recognize the importance of the U.S.-Bahrain free trade agreement as a symbol of the close ties between our two countries. ---------------- GOB Participants ----------------

5.(C) Sheikh Abdulaziz provided the following provisional list of GOB participants in the November 1 talks: --Crown Prince and BDF CINC Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa (Chair) --Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa --Either Minister of Defense General Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, or Minister of State for Defense Dr. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, or Chief of Staff Major General Sheikh Daij bin Salman bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa --Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Defense Sheikh Ahmed bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa --Representative from Ministry of Interior's Homeland Security equivalent --Representative from the National Security Agency --Representatives from the Foreign and Defense Ministries ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ********
ERELI

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