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Cablegate: Response From Secretary Clinton to Foreign

VZCZCXYZ0012
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #4991 3101928
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 061924Z NOV 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY CAIRO IMMEDIATE 3922

UNCLAS STATE 114991

SIPDIS, SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPDC PREL EAID PHUM EG
SUBJECT: RESPONSE FROM SECRETARY CLINTON TO FOREIGN
MINISTER AHMED ABOUL GHEIT ON AN ENDOWMENT

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. Please deliver the following message from Secretary
Clinton to Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. There
will be no signed original.

2. Begin text:

Dear Mr. Minister:

Thank you for your letter on the U.S. economic
assistance program in Egypt. I assure you that we
continue to support the idea of an endowment that
perpetuates our mutual, cooperative efforts to advance
economic and social development in Egypt. My staff is
currently working to develop the details of a
counterproposal to present to Egypt. We look forward to
entering into a formal dialogue on the endowment once we
have finalized our proposal and consulted our Congress.

Any fund would at first be relatively modest, run by a
non-profit corporation, with limited focus on a few
priority themes such as education. Although the
eventual U.S. proposal may differ from Egypt's proposal
in terms of initial size, institutional structure, and
technical details, we have commonalities in other areas.
We hope we can work with you to reach agreement on an
instrument that reflects both our countries' interests.
It continues to be the United States' desire to maintain
a positive bilateral relationship with Egypt, in which
we address our differences via consultations and
negotiations. As I mentioned above, we will need to
consult with Congress about the endowment to ensure its
success.

I also understand that, despite our joint interests, we
have not yet reached agreement on a portfolio of
programs for the $50 million in FY 2009 supplemental
funds prioritized for Sinai. In the August 2009
discussions between USAID and the Minister of
International Cooperation, I understand that Egypt
expressed a preference to eliminate U.S. involvement in
these development programs. A letter will be sent this
week from the USAID Director to the Minister of
International Cooperation with options for the use of
these funds that we believe meet the requirements of our
governments.

Let me reiterate that development in Sinai is very
closely tied to our mutual goal of ending smuggling and
trafficking between Gaza and the Sinai. The United
States has a clear interest in projects that directly
increase employment opportunities in agriculture,
fisheries, technical education, and micro- and small-
business development. Although I agree that it is
helpful for the Government of Egypt to take a prominent
and visible ownership role in these economic development
activities, I also strongly encourage you to lean
heavily on USAID's technical expertise to implement
these programs. I believe USAID's robust involvement,
direction, and support to these programs will be
essential to their success.

This issue has the attention of many in the United
States Congress, and we will need to demonstrate that
our active partnership with Egypt in northern Sinai is
leading to the timely implementation of programs
designed to increase economic opportunities for the
residents of this region.
I urge the Egyptian government to consider seriously
USAID's expertise as an asset in our mutual efforts to
improve the northern Sinai economy. I believe our
partnership on this issue will go a long way to cement
the positive progress we have made in our bilateral
relationship and further engender good will with the
U.S. Congress.

Sincerely yours,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

END TEXT.
CLINTON

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