Cablegate: Ambassador and Mod Discuss Iraq, Piracy, And

P 080820Z DEC 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 002481

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/06/2018

Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey per 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary: During a December 6 meeting, Ambassador and
Minister of Defense Field Marshal Tantawi discussed regional
security issues, including the new U.S.-Iraq security
agreement, Iran, combating piracy, Palestinian
reconciliation, and the upcoming Military Cooperation
Committee (MCC) meeting in Washington. On combating piracy,
Tantawi noted that Egypt stood ready to contribute naval
assets under a United Nation's force. On the security
agreement,Tantawi agreed that the agreement's approval
represented a defeat of Iranian efforts to interfere in Iraqi
affairs and believed the lost would encourage a "change in
Iranian" policy on Iraq and dealing with the U.S. government.
On the Arab-Israeli peace process, he hoped President-elect
Obama would immediately engage on supporting a comprehensive
peace agreement and reaffirmed Egypt's commitment to the
difficult task of mediating intra-Palestinian reconciliation.
End Summary.

Iraq, Security Agreement, and Iran

2. (C) Ambassador noted the importance of the recently
approved U.S.-Iraq security agreement, adding that the
agreement clearly affirms Iraqi sovereignty, calls for the
withdrawal of combat troops by 2011, and gives Iraqi
authorities jurisdiction over some criminal cases involving
U.S. personnel. Ambassador also noted that unlike the
security agreement, which focuses on the next three years,
the recently approved Strategic Framework Agreement will
support a wide-range of cooperation between the American and
Iraqi governments on economic, political, social, and
cultural issues. Tantawi agreed that the security
agreement's approval represented a defeat of Iranian efforts
to interfere in Iraqi affairs and believed the lost would
encourage a "change in Iranian" policy on Iraq and dealing
with the U.S. government.

--------------------------------------------- -------
Piracy: Ready to Contribute to United Nation's Force
--------------------------------------------- -------

3. (C) During a general discussion on combating piracy,
Ambassador expressed USG support for deepening cooperation
with the international community to counter piracy in the
Horn of Africa region. Tantawi expressed confidence that the
United Nations could find a solution to the question of
handling the detention and prosecution of pirates captured at
sea. Tantawi also shared Egypt's willingness to contribute
naval assets to combating piracy under the "United Nation's
flag." Ambassador also applauded Egypt's leadership on
bringing together Red Sea states to coordinate counter piracy
efforts (reftel).


4. (C) Tantawi hoped that President-elect Obama would
immediately engage on negotiations for a comprehensive peace
agreement after entering office. Ambassador noted the USG's
appreciation of Egyptian efforts to mediate between
Palestinian factions. Tantawi noted that the mediation
efforts were "difficult" but expressed Egypt's commitment to
supporting Palestinian reconciliation.

Military Cooperation

5. (SBU) Tantawi looked forward to the upcoming MCC meetings
in Washington December 16 - 17. Major General Fuoad al Halmi
noted that the major topics of conversation would be 1)
Foreign Military Financing cases in support of Egypt's
five-year modernization plan, 2) co-production of M1A1 tanks,
and 3) military cooperation, including Bright Star exercises.

6. (C) Ambassador agreed with Tantawi in the continued
strategic importance of Bright Star exercises as a symbol of
cooperation between moderate Arab countries and the United
States on combating regional security threats. She
recommended that he discuss this with General Petraeus when
they meet. Halmi also noted that Egypt hoped to discuss the
"political release" of certain weapons systems such as the
TOW-2B, Javelin, and Apache Longbow. Ambassador noted that -
while not the only impediment - the lack of the necessary
agreement providing end-use assurances and ensuring proper
protection of certain U.S. origin technology impeded further
discussions on releasability.


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