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Cablegate: Sesame Sees Itself As a Model Center For

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P 170533Z AUG 09
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9123
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHXX/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHMEP/THE MIDDLE EAST PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVE
RUCNSCO/UNESCO COLLECTIVE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0073
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 8366
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0088
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0123
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0452
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 0805
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0130
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 8367
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ISTANBUL 000320

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PRELTBIOBA CY EG ENRG IR IS IZ JO PK
TPHY, TSPL, TU, TRGY
SUBJECT: SESAME SEES ITSELF AS A MODEL CENTER FOR
"SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE", SEEKS ADDITIONAL FUNDING

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The fourteenth meeting of the Council of
Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications
in the Middle East (SESAME) was held in Istanbul in July.
The SESAME project is a scientific initiative currently under
construction in Jordan that currently fosters positive
international relations between many unlikely entities in the
Middle East. Developed under the auspices of UNESCO, SESAME
is a major international research facility that will enable
world class research to be conducted by scientists from the
Middle East. Representatives from Cyprus, Egypt, Iran,
Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Turkey
discussed the direction of the program and how to overcome
SESAME's financial challenges. Represented by CG Istanbul
poleconoff, the United States attended as an official
observer. All the representatives cast SESAME as an ideal
example of the kind of institution President Obama had in
mind when he called for establishing "centers of scientific
excellence" in the Middle East. END SUMMARY.


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SESAME -- A World-Class Science Center for the Middle East

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2. (SBU) Modeled after the European Organization for Nuclear
Research (CERN), the SESAME project is jointly governed by a
diverse Council of nine members -- Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt,
Iran, Israel, Jordan Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, and
Turkey. Negotiations for Council membership are underway
with Iraq. The Council members have transcended political
differences to collaborate on SESAME's design, development,
and scientific program. Observers of the Council include
France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Portugal,
Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

3. (SBU) Following the recommendation of an expert European
Commission panel, which reviewed this design in 2002, a truly
world-class facility is now under construction. However,
while the EU has provided 1.2 million Euros, and Jordan has
made generous contributions (3.3 million USD in addition to
land, buildings, and infrastructure), more funding is needed
to purchase important technical components. While the major
elements are in place, (SESAME conducted a successful use of
the synchrotron a few weeks ago), without remaining funds,
SESAME's completion is in jeopardy.

4. (SBU) While there are over 60 synchrotron facilities
around the world, SESAME is the first in the Middle East.
Researchers will work in many disciplines, including
addressing biomedical and environmental issues. For example,
researchers using a synchrotron developed antiretroviral
drugs used to combat HIV. The international scientific
community has strongly endorsed SESAME's diplomatic and
scientific objectives. The SESAME project has garnered the
support of international organizations such as UNESCO and the
International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (representing
more than 59 member countries).

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The Istanbul Meeting

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ISTANBUL 00000320 002 OF 002

5. (SBU) Representatives from Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel,
Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Turkey met in Istanbul
to discuss SESAME's progress and plan how to get the
resources to complete the research center. SESAME
researchers told the Council 2014 was the target date SESAME
will be operational. More importantly, SESAME officials
deliberated opportunities to raise the 15 million USD to
ensure at least the minimum level of construction needed to
make SESAME fully operational. Council President Chris
Llewellyn Smith said SESAME could possibly borrow the
additional funds, either from the Jordanian royal family or
the European Investment Bank. Smith, however, was concerned
that the Jordanian well might soon go dry.

6. (SBU) The Council was optimistic that recent events have
opened two funding opportunities from the U.S. Smith and
many members pointed to President Obama's Cairo speech where
the U.S. committed itself to open "centers of scientific
excellence" in the region. The members saw SESAME as an
ideal model to make the President's statement into a reality.
Moreover, Israel representative Elizer Rabinovici reported
he personally discussed the scientific and diplomatic
benefits of SESAME with Congressperson Rush Holt, who is now
a supporter of SESAME and is seeking ways to encourage a U.S.
financial contribution. Smith asserted that a financial
contribution from the U.S. would not only enable construction
to continue, but would likewise encourage other nations to
provide additional necessary funding.

7. (SBU) The members were optimistic that Iraq would soon
join SESAME. Smith told the Council that his discussions
with the government of Iraq were going well. However, no
representatives from two SESAME members -- Bahrain and
Pakistan -- attended the Istanbul meeting. Smith said he
would contact representatives from these two countries to
ensure their participation in subsequent SESAME meetings.

8. (SBU) COMMENT: SESAME is a rare organization where Middle
East nations participate in an unlikely working partnership.
Representatives from Iran, Israel, the Palestinian Authority,
Cyprus, and Turkey work together towards advancing the body
of science. The Middle East is sadly lacking such
world-class research facilities and SESAME could be a model
center of excellence" as envisioned by President Obama for
the region. SESAME can benefit both science and diplomacy,
yet additional funding is needed to make both these goals a
reality. A poorly funded SESAME that simply houses
researchers from diverse nations would fall short of
achieving either goal. Council President Smith stressed that
"if the science is successful, political success will
follow." However, the delay in establishing a true
world-class synchrotron jeopardizes the chances the science
will be successful. SESAME needs additional funding to make
the science a success.

WIENER

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