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Cablegate: A/S Welch Meeting with Syg Moussa

VZCZCXRO5098
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2256 3001519
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 261519Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0718
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 002256

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FO; NSC FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/23/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPAL IS EG
SUBJECT: A/S WELCH MEETING WITH SYG MOUSSA

Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey
Reasons: 1.4 (B) and (D)
1.(C) A/S Welch briefed Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa on USG plans to support Israeli-Palestinian negotiations through the end of the Administration in an October 21 meeting in Cairo. Moussa argued that continuing Israeli settlement activity would prevent meaningful progress on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. A/S Welch said that we share Arab concerns about settlement activity, but Arab leaders need to do more to support the process, and make clear to Israel that Arab states are serious about normalizing relations.

2.(C) A/S Welch told Moussa that we expect that the Quartet, joined by the Israelis and Palestinians, will meet in November. The two sides will brief on the negotiations; there may be points of agreement and contention. It is still possible that the two sides will reach agreement by the end of 2009. If not, we will work with the parties to memorialize progress and ensure that the process continues into the next U.S. administration. We will work hard to avoid a complete collapse of the process. Moussa agreed, and recalled the failure to reach agreement in December, 2000.

3.(C) Moussa said he was hopeful, but warned that Arab patience with the Annapolis process was waning. He complained that although President Bush (in 2002) had called for a Palestinian state by the end of 2005, we were still far away from that goal. "We have to be practical. Maybe the two state solution is not possible. Maybe the future is one state for all its citizens" (i.e. Israel, the West Bank and Gaza). A/S Welch said that the two sides remain committed to negotiating. The results are not everything we had hoped for, but there is a good chance to finish the year with solid progress. Moussa commented that there has been some progress on the "Syria track" (e.g. Turkish-sponsored Israeli-Syrian negotiations). A/S Welch agreed that Syria has taken some positive steps, but said that elevating Israeli-Syrian discussions to a direct channel would be a decision for the Israeli government to make once it is formed.

4.(C) A/S Welch told Moussa that Arab support is critical to Iraqi leaders as they proceed with status of forces (SOFA) negotiations. Iraqi leaders are seeking political cover. Moussa suggested extending the United Nations mandate (UNSCR 1723) in the event the Iraqis are unable to sign the SOFA agreement.

5.(U) A/S Welch cleared this message. SCOBEY

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