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Cablegate: Fm Aboul Gheit Raises Concerns Over West Bank

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2031/01 2501355
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 061355Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8316
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 4703
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 4356
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2711
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 5119
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1980
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0201
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 1362
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0393
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

"C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001981

SIPDIS

FOR NEA/ELA AND NEA/IPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2028
TAGS: PREL PGOV EG KPAL LE IS
SUBJECT: FM ABOUL GHEIT RAISES CONCERNS OVER WEST BANK
CONDITIONS AND PEACE NEGOTIATIONS WITH ISRAELI MFA DG

REF: TEL AVIV 2031

Classified By: ECPO Mincouns William R. Stewart per 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) MFA Cabinet Advisor for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs
Ahmed Hafez (please protect) briefed us September 5 on
Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit's August 31 meeting in Cairo
with Israeli MFA DG Aharon Abramovich. Hafez described the
meeting's atmosphere as ""positive,"" and stressed that the
Egyptian side tried to maintain a positive tone in spite of
the GOE's policy differences with the GOI on the peace
process. According to Hafez, Aboul Gheit raised Egyptian
concerns over lack of progress on the ground to improve
Palestinian living conditions on the West Bank. Aboul Gheit
complained about continued Israeli checkpoints and
roadblocks, and the absence of a settlement freeze. The
Foreign Minister also lamented what he perceives as little
progress from the Olmert-Abbas and Livni-Abu Ala
negotiations. Hafez acknowledged that Aboul Gheit did not
repeatedly press DG Abramovich on these issues because the DG
understands Abramovich is not a GOI decision-maker.

2. (C) Hafez said Abramovich cautioned Aboul Gheit to have
low expectations for a peace deal by the end of 2008, and
asserted to the FM that accelerating negotiations would not
be helpful. According to Hafez, Abramovich blamed internal
Israeli politics and an absence of Palestinian unity for the
lack of progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

3. (C) Hafez told us that although Aboul Gheit did not agree
with these points, he did not push back. Hafez said the GOE
believes that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not to blame
for the lack of progress in the negotiations. The PA ""is
doing all it can"" by continuing to meet with Olmert and Livni
despite an absence of improvements on the ground in the West
Bank, Hafez contended. According to Hafez, the GOE believes
Israel is squarely to blame for the lack of progress since
Annapolis. While the GOE acknowledges that PM Olmert's
political weakness has hindered the direct negotiations with
President Abbas, Hafez continued, the Egyptians believe the
GOI can do much more to improve the life of Palestinians in
the West Bank and bolster President Abbas' political
standing.
SCOBEY
"

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