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Cablegate: Bahraini Fm to Hale On Middle East Peace, December

VZCZCXRO1313
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHMK #0701 3431120
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 091120Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9092
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000701

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2019
TAGS: PREL KPAL KWBG IS PA BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAINI FM TO HALE ON MIDDLE EAST PEACE, DECEMBER
5

Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1.(C) Summary: Bahrain's FM commented on the dangers Palestinian reconciliation posed to PA President Abbas and lamented that the recent Israeli announcement of a settlement moratorium did not go far enough. He reiterated Bahrain's readiness to help peace efforts, including at the December GCC ministerial, and committed to discuss matters with Egyptian FM Aboul Gheit when he arrives in Manama later this week. End summary.

2.(C) Deputy Envoy Hale met with Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa on December 5 at Bahrain's MFA to discuss recent developments in the peace process. Ambassador Hale told Sheikh Khalid that we were working on a package of measures to enable a resumption of direct negotiations. It was important that Arab states help Abbas put his political problems behind him to enable progress. The FM agreed, noting that Abbas' current weakness makes it dangerous to seek reconciliation now - "He can't handle Hamas on his own." Sheikh Khalid lamented that the recent Israeli settlement moratorium neglected "the central issue of Jerusalem," and said pointedly that, "There is no way we can sell Netanyahu's offer to our people or our parliament." He noted that we need the right atmosphere and people on both sides if the process is to move forward, and asked what could be done to strengthen Abbas. Hale stressed that political and tangible financial support offered the best hope to do so, and position Abbas to take steps toward direct negotiations when the time is right, soon.

3.(C) Sheikh Khalid expressed appreciation for the USG's clear and helpful statements following the recent Israeli announcement. He reaffirmed Bahrain's commitment to the peace process and to the Arab Peace Initiative, adding, "You can count on us to help you." He said that he would point out to Egyptian FM Aboul Gheit the dangers reconciliation presents to Abbas when the Egyptian visits Manama later this week, and that the two would discuss how to best prepare the Arabs and the Palestinians so as to be ready once the U.S. has laid out the principles for direct negotiations. ERELI

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