Cablegate: Visit of Qatar's Prime Minister to Washington

DE RUEHDO #0733/01 3551236
P 211236Z DEC 09

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 DOHA 000733



E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2019

DOHA 00000733 001.2 OF 003

Classified By: Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron, for reasons 1.4 (b, d)

1. (S) Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani (who serves
concurrently as Foreign Minister) of Qatar will visit
Washington beginning January 4 to continue the strategic
consultations that Qatar and the USG have pursued since June,
when Near Eastern Affairs Assistant Secretary Feltman first
proposed them in Doha. As part of those consultations,
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Al-Mahmoud and
Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohamad Al-Rumaihi
visited Washington last fall.

2. (S) The Prime Minister travels to Washington with the aim
of laying the groundwork for visits in the first half of 2010
by Qatar's Heir Apparent and the Amir. We believe he will be
prepared to discuss the gaps between the USG and GOQ on
Middle East peace and counterterrorism cooperation, as well
as to discuss setting the stage for joint cooperation on
Iran, Iraq and other regional issues.

3. (S) Suggested talking points for meetings with the PM:

-- We thank you for bringing with you to Washington a
commitment to fund the PA. Your decision to do so is
extremely important to us. We view it as a clear gesture of
friendship to us and of a commitment to partner with us on
Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, just as the United States and
Qatar have partnered on Darfur.

-- As your ally and friend, we hope we can look to you to
increase your cooperation with us on counterterrorism. We
want to work particularly closely with you and enacting
policies and programs that deter financial flows to Hamas and
the Taliban.

-- In this context, we applaud your work with the IMF on
making needed legal and procedural changes to curtail
financing to terrorists. We are ready to help you with
technical support and training once the IMF and Qatar have
worked out an action plan.

-- We especially value consultations with you on Iran. We
recognize your national need for a working relationship with
Iran, given the natural gas reserves you share with Iran.
How best do you think we can persuade Iran to give up its
military nuclear aims without military confrontation?

-- We understand that you are close to announcing a decision
to open an Embassy in Baghdad, but that much depends on
resolving the issue of Iraq's debts to Qatar. Is there
anything we can do to help?

-- We encourage you to recognize an independent Kosovo, as
Saudi Arabia and others have now done. We certainly
appreciate your votes in favor of Kosovo in the IMF and World
Bank. They are important precursors to formal recognition,
but when will you take that final step?

-- On Yemen, we know that President Saleh asked Qatar to stop
its mediation between the central government and Huthi
rebels. Given your past involvement there, what thoughts do
you have on bringing about stability on the Arabian

-- We applaud Qatar's decision to make food security a
priority, not just for itself but for the entire Arab world.
Food security is a priority for the USG, as well, and we
share Qatar's view that it must be addressed through a
combination of commerce, investment, technical assistance,
technology transfer, and direct aid.

Addressing the Fatah-Hamas Split and Funding the PA
--------------------------------------------- ------

4. (S) Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim (HBJ) has told NEA A/S
Feltman that he will come with a financial commitment to fund
the Palestinian Authority. This is an extremely important
gesture by Qatar to the United States. He will also be
prepared to discuss with Secretary Clinton and others Qatar's
view of Hamas, continued contacts with whose leaders it sees
as key to bringing about a stable and enduring Middle East
peace. We expect HBJ to share what other steps Qatar is
prepared to take in support of the Palestinian Authority (PA)
and, in particular, Mahmoud Abbas, whose continued leadership

DOHA 00000733 002.2 OF 003

of the PA Qatar's leaders support. HBJ is likely to bring
with him new ideas to reconcile Hamas and Fatah. Given
Qatar's history of mediation efforts HBJ will no doubt
suggest that Qatar can play a helpful role. Qatar's
restoration of normal operations of the Israeli Trade Office
in Doha would also give testimony to Qatar's willingness to
help achieve U.S. objectives, but we do not expect the
Qataris to take this step absent some significant gesture
from the Israelis, such as much less restricted access to
Gaza for Qatar's humanitarian efforts.

5. (S) Qatar almost certainly will not be willing to break
off ties or dialogue with Hamas. If asked to do so, we think
HBJ will explain that the Amir gave his word to both Hamas
and Fatah that he would financially support the winner of
democratic elections in Palestine. Hamas won those
elections, which the Bush Administration pressed the Amir to
support actively. The Amir believes that it would be
dishonorable to isolate Hamas after he convinced its leaders
to participate in elections that were backed by the United

Greater Cooperation on Counterterrorism Needed
--------------------------------------------- -

6. (S) It is important to make clear to HBJ that cooperation
between the United States and Qatar on counterterrorism
issues in general needs to be greatly improved. Officials
should make known USG concerns about the financial support to
Hamas by Qatari charitable organizations and our concerns
about the moral support Hamas receives from Yousef
Al-Qaradawi. It is also essential to stress that high-level
Qatari political support is needed, if financial flows to
terrorists are to stop.

7. (S) An International Monetary Fund (IMF) employee began
advising Qatar's Financial Intelligence Unit in October (in a
relationship expected to last three full years) on making the
necessary legal and procedural changes to address the 49
areas in which international experts have recommended changes
to Qatar's procedures. We assess that the FIU is serious
about making technical changes that will enhance Qatar's
reputation as a global financial center, but we project that,
absent political support from the top, the IMF/Qatari
partnership will fall short in achieving its goals.

Need for Close Consultations on Iran

8. (S) Qatar shares a mammoth natural gas field with Iran.
As a result, Qatar carefully maintains with Iran a high tempo
of top-level contacts , which have increased since the
protests following Iranian presidential elections). Qatar
does this because it is convinced that such a close
relationship with Iran is key to safeguarding trillions of
dollars in potential wealth. We are convinced that Qatar
will not be dissuaded from maintaining those ties.

9. (S) That said, Qatar's leaders -- while careful not to say
it publicly -- do not trust Iran; and Qatar does not want
Iran to have nuclear weapons.

10. (S) Qatar's relationship with Iran is important to us
for another reason. Qatar hosts the forward headquarters of
CENTCOM and allows us to use Al-Udaid Air Base for
unrestricted air operations over Iraq and Afghanistan. We
pay no rent for these facilities, and the Qataris have funded
about 60 percent of the improvements to Al-Udaid since our
partnership on that base began. While few, least of all
Qatar, want a military confrontation with Iran, the USG no
doubt would want to use these Qatari facilities in any
kinetic operations against Iran. Right now, we anticipate
that Qatar would refuse to allow Qatari soil to be used to
attack Iran, short of some sort of permanent USG security
guarantee to Qatar, to include its offshore natural gas field
shared with Iran.

Finding a Way Forward on Iraq

11. (S) For several months, Qatar has expressed frustration
with the current government of Iraq, which it views as too
Shi'a in orientation for its liking, but appears now to be
prepared to consider investment offsets, provided by the
Government of Iraq, but owned by Qatar, as a means for Iraq

DOHA 00000733 003.2 OF 003

to repay the GOI's debt owed Qatar. That would be an avenue
for the resumption of a political relationship, to include an
HBJ visit to Baghdad and the opening of a Qatari Embassy in
Iraq. We should encourage Qatar's outreach to Baghdad and
also encourage Iraq's government to shore up its relations
with Doha.

Recognizing Kosovo

12. (C) MFA Assistant Minister Mohamad Al-Rumaihi told
Ambassador December 20 that Qatar's IMF and World Bank votes
in favor of Kosovo show Qatar's true sympathies on
recognizing Kosovo. The Russian President, however, has
asked Qatar to "go slow" in announcing recognition, he said.
Out of sensitivity to Russian concerns, Al-Rumaihi said,
Qatar has done so. He encouraged Secretary Clinton to ask
HBJ about the timing of Qatar's eventual recognition, noting
that that Qatar had been approached by organizers of a UK
project about using its good offices with the Government of
Kosovo to protect Kosovo's Christian heritage once Qatar
formally recognizes its independence.

Cool to Yemen's Approach on the Huthi

13. (S) Having attempted to mediate between Huthi rebels in
Yemen and the central government there (before President
Saleh put an end to Qatar's involvement), Qatar believes the
Huthi tribes have legitimate grievances that the central
government must address in dialogue and negotiations. It can
be expected that HBJ will discourage a military approach to
solving the Huthi problem and claim that the role of Huthi
elements in supporting terrorism in the guise of Al-Qaida is

Food Security

14. (U) Qatar will host March 3-4, 2010 an international
conference focused on food security in the Arab World. IFAD
(International Fund for Agricultural Development) is a
co-host, as is the Islamic Development Bank. The conference
will have a set of ambitious goals, to include a conference
declaration establishing a permanent secretariat to address
the food security issues of the poorer states of the Arab
League. According to officials of Texas A&M's Borlaug
Institute, this will be the first such conference on regional
food security issues hosted by an Arab government in the 50
years the institute has been active in the Middle East and
North Africa.

15. (SBU) In Embassy Doha's judgment, Qatar's food security
policies and strategies reflect the rapidly growing intent by
the Amir and Crown Prince to make food security a key
national priority for Qatar, not just in terms of Qatar's own
food security needs, but in terms of the food security needs
of the Arab region. (HBJ supports having an active food
security policy, as long as it has a strong commercial focus.)

16. (SBU) That judgment stems from our conversations with
Qatar government officials:

-- While QNFSP's short-term focus is on the State of Qatar
and building the domestic agricultural sector to diminish
reliance on imports, the strategic goal of QNFSP is to export
the technologies developed in Qatar to countries throughout
the MENA region, and other areas with arid climates.

-- Toward that end, some research results will be part of the
public domain and available to everyone. Some technology
transfer to poorer MENA nations will be donor-based, through
the activities of the offices of the State Minister for
International Cooperation. The third component of Qatar's
strategic goal of exporting QNFSP technology will be more
commercially based, and will employ public/private


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