Cablegate: Egyptian Views On Iaea Gc Negotiations


DE RUEHEG #1743 2521546
O 091546Z SEP 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001743


E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2019

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

1. (C) Summary: Key Egyptian interlocutors say Egypt has worked in good faith to achieve consensus in Vienna, including showing substantial flexibility on the GC President's initiative. They are willing to continue to work toward this goal via the now-circulated MES text. In the Egyptian view, Israel will block any movement unless the U.S. (and only the U.S.) steps into a brokering role. They continue to maintain that success in this effort will open the way to new possibilities on the INC resolution. Egypt shares U.S. concerns about Syrian and Iranian activities. However, if there is no progress on the Middle East resolutions, action on these fronts will be extremely problematic. End Summary.

2. (C) Key Egyptian interlocutors, including MFA Deputy Foreign Minister Wafa Bassim, Assistant Minister for Multilateral Affairs Naela Gabr, and Deputy Assistant Minister for Disarmament Khalid Shamaa, have over the past few days continued to characterize GoE efforts in Vienna as a significant good faith effort to show flexibility in seeking a consensus text. They cite Egypt's willingness to work with the GC President, and engage directly on the ideas she presented, as well as their agreement to delay releasing the MES text. They have also claimed a willingness to address the INC resolution, but only in an indirect way, after a consensus MES is reached. All have cited what they characterize as Israeli obstructionism in the face of these efforts.

3. (C) In several of these discussions, GoE officials have voiced frustration at what they describe as U.S. reluctance to play a direct mediating role in generating a consensus text. They have little confidence in Israeli intentions, and remain angry over what they believe was a lack of good faith on the part of EU negotiators in MES negotiations last year. Is these circumstances, they say what they consider the unfocused discussions leading up to their decision to circulate the MES text were bound to go nowhere. As Wafa Bassim put it to Ambassador recently: "we need to be discussing a text if we are going to be patient."

4. (C) In a September 8 conversation with ECPO MinCons, Khalid Shamaa said Egypt would welcome a consensus text "if there is substance to it." But he said that means both sides will have to make some concessions. For example, he said, "how can anyone object to the Algerian amendment?" He said the "poisonous" atmosphere surrounding the negotiations could only be cleared with a strong U.S. brokering role that would ensure a "transparent and fair" approach to substantive issues. "It will never work if we are just told to sit with the Israelis," Shamaa said. Both Shamaa and Gabr in separate September 8 conversations with MinCons claimed Egypt had been ready to make significant concessions on a "weak" GC Presidency text, but that effort had been stonewalled by the Israelis.

5. (C) Shamaa said efforts to address other serious regional issues would "go nowhere" if there is no movement on these resolutions. Noting Egypt's fraught relations with Syria and Iran, he said the U.S. and Egypt "share the same concerns" about these threats. "But let's be serious" he said. "The regional politics are clear to everyone. We will be able to do nothing on these two countries if we can't even mention the region's only completely unsafeguarded program - it's a gift to the Iranians!"

6. (C) Comment: President Obama's June 4 Cairo speech continues to be a reference point in our discussions with the GoE across the spectrum of bilateral and multilateral issues. The Egyptians consistently express a desire to find new ways to engage and cooperate, especially in the multilateral sphere. They cite progress on a jointly drafted U.S.-Egypt Freedom of Expression text in Geneva as the clearest example of this, but claim to be willing to look at new formulations on nuclear resolutions if that willingness is reciprocated. Our contacts say they are willing to keep working toward a consensus MES text. End Comment. Scobey

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