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Cablegate: Israel Wants Greater Bmena Role

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1975 2511201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081201Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3347
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6514

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001975

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

Department for NEA/PI (Allard) and NEA/IPA (Frelich)
Amman for ESTH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL KMPI KDEM IS
SUBJECT: ISRAEL WANTS GREATER BMENA ROLE

REF: (A) STATE 82753 (B) Tel AVIV 1837

1. (SBU) ESTH officer met with MFA Magreb Director Eynat
Shlein-Michael on September 3 to follow up at her request on the
BMENA demarche presented August 18 (ref A). She underscored that
Israel remains quite interested in BMENA progress, and she
personally believed it was one of the Bush administration's best
initiatives. Shlein-Michael is the MFA point person on BMENA, and
offered a more detailed response than offered ref B. She followed
BMENA progress closely during her recent three-year posting in
Washington.

2. (SBU) The chief reaction of the GOI is that Israel would like to
be included in BMENA as a regular participant and invitee. The GOI
understood that, at the start of the Initiative, there was logic in
not including Israel so as not to politicize the forum into an
anti-Israel opportunity, or discourage the Arab states from joining
it. Shlein-Michael believes the BMENA process is now sufficiently
entrenched and partner countries sufficiently engaged with it to
tolerate Israeli participation. Israel is a regional country with
an interest in BMENA's progress. Israel brings to BMENA expertise
in development technologies, civil society and democracy building,
and women's rights. Israel sees itself as a donor/contributor to
the process. She pointed out also that Israel has worked with
developing states in the Arabic-speaking world for 60 years through
its Mashav program (Israel's development cooperation agency).
Israel's presence in other IOs and forums has not made them less
effective, and the workshops planned for BMENA members this autumn
are the sort to which Israel could bring good value-added. Finally,
she noted that including Israel in BMENA is the type of positive
engagement that President Obama spoke of in his Cairo address;
keeping Israel out of a regional forum where productive relations
are fostered would be inconsistent with his stated, broader
objectives in the Middle East, such as normalizing Israel's
relations with its neighbors.

3. (SBU) Emboff promised to convey Israel's interest to Washington
BMENA organizers, and reiterated USG commitment to keep Israel
apprised of BMENA developments.

CUNNINGHAM

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