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Cablegate: Prime Minister: Qatar Deeply Concerned About Yemen

VZCZCXRO5393
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHDO #0606 2811246
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 081246Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9428
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L DOHA 000606
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2019
TAGS: PREL PTER YM SA QA
SUBJECT: PRIME MINISTER: QATAR DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT YEMEN
Classified By: Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron for reasons 1.4 (b and d).
--------------
(C) KEY POINTS
--------------
-- At an October 5 meeting with Ambassador, Prime Minister
Shaykh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani said that the Qataris are
"frightened" by the conflict in Yemen.
-- Shaykh Hamad said that he had spoken with Saudi King
Abdullah on the subject, but gave no details.
-- The Prime Minister said that Qatar’s influence with the
Yemeni President was limited, but that he was reaching out to
him in an effort to assist in mediating the conflict.
-- He urged the U.S. to seek a deeper understanding of the
conflict in Yemen and not to take statements by the
government at face value.
-----------
(C) COMMENT
-----------
-- In spite of the Prime Minister’s genuine worry over the
ongoing conflict in Yemen, Qatar will be reluctant to make a
formal effort to mediate the dispute. It attempted to do so
once before, only to be asked by the government of Yemen to
end its mediation efforts. Qatar is more likely to engage in
private diplomacy on this issue, help when it can, and keep a
very wary eye on the unfolding situation.
End Key Points and Comments.
1. (C) At an October 5 meeting with Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister Shaykh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, Ambassador
raised the issue of the ongoing civil strife in Yemen. The
Prime Minister replied that "We are frightened about Yemen."
He pointed out that Yemen is very close to Qatar, and that a
widening of the conflict there could lead to regional
instability.
2. (C) Ambassador agreed, pointing out it was in Saudi
Arabia’s self-interest, perhaps more than any other
country’s, to help contain and resolve the conflict. The
Prime Minister agreed, commenting that had spoken directly
with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz on the issue. Shaykh
Hamad offered no details.
3. (C) When asked how he, and Qatar more generally, might be
a force for reconciliation in the Yemeni conflict, Shaykh
Hamad stated that his influence with Yemeni President Ali
Abdullah Saleh is limited, since the President believes the
Qataris are financing the Houthi rebels leading the Saada
rebellion against his government. Still, the Prime Minister
said that the GOQ is reaching out to Saleh and would like to
host him in Doha for talks.
4. (C) The Prime Minister cautioned the United States not to
take people at face value and to strive for a deeper
understanding of the internal dynamics of the conflict in
Yemen, of which of the Howthi rebellion is but one part, he
said. He cited north-south tensions as another driving force
in the conflict, about which he had urged President Saleh to
"treat the south better than the north, as it has embraced
the unity of Yemen." He also warned the U.S. to look with
skepticism on claims that the conflict was aimed at fighting
Al Qaeda. "After 9/11 America liked to hear that nations
were fighting against Al Qaeda. But leaders should not fight
their own wars and say they are fighting Al Qaeda."
LeBaron

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