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Cablegate: Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the Us On Pakistani

VZCZCXRO1328
OO RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHRH #2320 3241617
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 201617Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7040
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 4670
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0432
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH 9223
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 0052
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE 0043
RUSBPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 0182
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

S E C R E T RIYADH 002320

SIPDIS
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/ARP, SCA, AND P STAFF
EO 12958 DECL: 11/18/2017
TAGS PGOV, PHUM, PK, PREL, PTER, SA
SUBJECT: SAUDI ARABIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE US ON PAKISTANI
PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF’S VISIT TO SAUDI ARABIA

Classified By: CHARGE D’AFFAIRES MICHAEL GFOELLER FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) A ND (D)

1. (S) On November 20, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the US Adel al-Jubeir invited the Charge d’Affaires and Executive Office Staff Assistant (note taker) to his residence for lunch. During the meal, Ambassador al-Jubeir said that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf arrived in Saudi Arabia, today, November 20, and will meet with King Abdullah, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, and head of the General Intelligence Presidency Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz after he completes Umra in Mecca. He noted that Musharraf will meet with the Foreign Minister and Prince Muqrin first and thereafter see King Abdullah sometime in the evening. “The purpose of these meetings,” said al-Jubeir, “is to get a readout of the situation and present our point of view to him.”

2. (S) Al-Jubeir denied that Musharraf had come to the Kingdom to meet with exiled former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, although he carefully avoided ruling out such a meeting. Instead, he boldly asserted that, “We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants.” He asserted that the Saudi government (SAG) had offered Sharif a pledge of protection and asylum in the Kingdom after his ouster by Musharraf in return for a promise that he would refrain from political activity for ten years. He added that Sharif had begun to attempt to test the limits of this promise five or six years in his exile. “Sharif broke his promise by conducting political activity while in the Kingdom,” al-Jubeir charged. He added that when the SAG had permitted Sharif to travel to London, he first promised the Saudis not to engage in political activity or return to Pakistan, but he then flew to Pakistan from London in a direct violation of his commitment.

3. (S) Al-Jubeir expressed considerable “disappointment” in Sharif’s broken pledges to the SAG. He stated very clearly that the SAG has worked directly with Musharraf to have Sharif arrested on his return to Pakistan and immediately deported to the Kingdom. “We told Musharraf that we would receive him back and then keep him here as an ‘honored guest’,” al-Jubeir said. He added that Prince Muqrin had been the SAG’s point man in restraining Sharif. Prince Muqrin was allowed to reveal the terms of Sharif’s asylum agreement, he noted. Al-Jubeir made it very clear that the SAG would seek to control Sharif’s movements in he future, even suggesting that he would be kept in a state only a little less severe than house arrest.

4. (S) Al-Jubeir added that he sees neither Sharif nor former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as a viable replacement for Musharraf. “With all his flaws,” he said of Musharraf, “he is the only person that you or we have to work with now.” He claimed that Sharif would be unable to control the Pushtun-dominated Islamic insurgency in the tribal region near Afghanistan, while Bhutto would prove to be too divisive a figure to rule the country, which he characterized as “very tribal, much like our own country.”

5. (S) Al-Jubeir added that for the SAG, stability in Pakistan is an essential strategic matter. Since Pakistan possesses both nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles, from the Saudi point of view, the policy choice to be made there boils down to a drastic choice: “We can either support Musharraf and stability, or we can allow bin Laden to get the bomb, “he told the Charge’.

6. (S) Comment: As a senior royal advisor who has worked for King Abdullah for eight years now, al-Jubeir’s views generally track very closely with those of the King. It seems likely that King Abdullah, Prince Muqrin, and Prince Saud al-Faisal will offer Musharraf pledges of strong support in their meetings today. We note that the Saudis have an economic hold on Nawaz Sharif, sine he was reportedly the first non-Saudi to receive a special economic development loan from the SAG, with which to develop a business while here in exile. We will report further information on these meetings as it develops. End Comment. GFOELLER

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