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Cablegate: Gok Cabinet Approves Negotiations On Us/Kuwait

VZCZCXRO1682
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHKU #0816 2020331
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200331Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1884
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 1116
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS KUWAIT 000816

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR NEA/ARP, L/LEI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CJAN CASC CPAS CVIS SNAR KCRM IS KU
SUBJECT: GOK CABINET APPROVES NEGOTIATIONS ON US/KUWAIT
MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE TREATY

REF: STATE 42487

Summary
----------
1. (U) On July 9 Department of Justice (DOJ) Attach
(Cairo) Jeffrey Cole and Econoff met with Counselor Hamad
Al-Marri, Deputy Director, Legal Department, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA) to follow-up on previous discussions in
March regarding promoting mutual legal assistance in criminal
matters between the GOK and the USG. DOJ and Embassy
officials met several times over the past year with GOK
officials to discuss mutual cooperation in criminal matters,
but were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement. While the
Kuwaitis agreed to go forward with MLAT negotiations, they
appear unwilling to provide assistance to the USG based on
the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
The Kuwaitis noted that if an MLAT between the two nations
were in place, they could provide us the assistance we
required. Both DOJ and Econoff pointed out that it would be
the first MLAT the United States would have with a country in
the Gulf Region. End Summary.

Encouraging News
-----------------------
2. (U) During a very encouraging discussion on July 9 with
Counselor Hamad Al-Marri, Deputy Director, Legal Department,
MFA, Al-Marri told Mr. Cole and Econoff that the Cabinet
Council had recently approved negotiating an MLAT with the
United States and believed this would allow the USG access to
the records it needed. (Note: Seeing the need to find a
suitable mechanism for cooperation between governments, both
parties agreed on the proposal for an MLAT during prior
discussions in March 2008. End Note.) He said it appeared
unlikely that the USG would receive assistance relying on
UNCAC because, the assistance the USG wanted was in conflict
with Kuwaiti domestic law. However, he believed that an MLAT
would allow Kuwait to circumvent the domestic law issue.
Al-Marri also mentioned Kuwait's interest in a civil and
commercial treaty, but believed it was not of much interest
to the United States at this time. Mr. Cole said he was
encouraged by the news and thanked both Al-Marri and Dr.
Al-Ansari for their efforts in promoting mutual legal
assistance. He also explained that the USG had a process
that it needed to go through before it could agree to
negotiations, assuring them the USG had a vested interest in
approving the MLAT.


Next Steps
----------

3. (U) Counselor Al-Marri stated that the Kuwaiti Attorney
General (AG) would issue a letter to the Embassy in Kuwait
within one week asking that the USG move forward with MLAT
negotiations. He also ensured Mr. Cole that MFA was working
on updating a 15 year old draft of an MLAT (Note: Dr.
Al-Ansari claims that in the early nineties, the GOK proposed
signing an MLAT with the USG, which he had drafted, but
received no response. End Note.) and would deliver the
document to the Embassy within one month. Econoff will
follow-up with MFA on the letter from the AG and encourage
completion of the MLAT by the GOK. Post will keep the
Department and DOJ/OIA apprised of any further developments.


********************************************* *
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/?cable s

Visit Kuwait's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/
********************************************* *
JONES

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