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Cablegate: Mixed Civil Society Reaction to Un Anti-Corruption

VZCZCXRO0412
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #2268 3421243
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 081243Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4411
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 002268

SIPDIS

FOR NEA/ELA AND INL/CCP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/08/2029
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM UN EG
SUBJECT: MIXED CIVIL SOCIETY REACTION TO UN ANTI-CORRUPTION
REVIEW MECHANISM

REF: A. CAIRO 2053
B. STATE 106225 Classified By: Economic-Political Minister-Counselor Donald A. Blome for reason 1.4 (d).
1.KEY POINTS -- (C) An analyst from a GOE-funded think tank who attended the November UN Convention Against Corruption Doha conference welcomed the international consensus on a review mechanism, but criticized the mechanism for weakening civil society's role. -- (C) The director of an independent NGO who travelled to Doha echoed this criticism, and blamed the GOE for blocking proposals to strengthen civil society's monitoring role.

2.(C) XXXXXXXXXXXX welcomed the decision by Egypt and other countries to join the review mechanism consensus. XXXXXXXXXXXX expressed disappointment over the cancellation of the conference's session where civil society representatives were scheduled to speak. He criticized states parties' decision to change previous practice by not inviting NGOs to distribute shadow reports at future conferences, but expressed optimism that civil society pressure could compel governments to change their positions. XXXXXXXXXXXX said he would publicly disseminate future shadow reports through the media if he could not distribute them at coming conferences.

3.(C) XXXXXXXXXXXX, who also attended the conference, told us she believes the adopted review mechanism is "weak," because of what she termed a "reduced role" for civil society. Like XXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXXXX complained that the review mechanism does not invite civil society to distribute shadow reports at UNCAC conferences, as she said NGOs did in Jordan (2006), Bali (2008) and Doha. "Bali was heaven for civil society," she said. Haddad blamed the GOE for working with China, Iran, Zimbabwe and Venezuela and others to block proposals to strengthen the mechanism. XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that Kuwaiti diplomats told her the Egyptian delegation used the UAE as a front during the closed door sessions to press for limiting civil society's role in the review mechanism.

4.(C) Comment: XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXXXXX are two of a handful of Egyptian civil society representatives who attended the Doha conference, and are both deeply engaged in transparency issues. Although XXXXXXXXXXXX works at a GOE-funded research institution, he is sharply critical of the government on corruption issues. He asserted to us that the two most pressing corruption issues in Egypt are the lack of judicial independence and low government salaries, which lead officials to solicit bribes. XXXXXXXXXXXX is a former official of the ruling National Democratic Party who became an independent activist. On the UN's International Anti-Corruption Day December 9, her NGO plans to honor an Egyptian individual for fighting corruption. Tueller

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