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Cablegate: Bahraini Foreign Minister Meets a/S Feltman And

VZCZCXRO7831
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHMK #0715 3501442
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161442Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9110
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RHBVAKS/COMUSNAVCENT
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000715

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/16/2019
TAGS: PREL KPAL KWBG MARR UNGA IS PA IZ IR TU BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAINI FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS A/S FELTMAN AND
A/S SHAPIRO, DECEMBER 13

Classified By: Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(C) Summary: Bahrain's Foreign Minister expressed concern for the P5 1 process and suggested including regional partners in further talks with Iran. He said that his Iranian counterpart pressed him to vote against the Iran human rights resolution in the UN General Assembly, but he affirmed Bahrain would maintain its abstention. The FM agreed on the importance of incorporating Iraq in regional fora, but said it would not be possible to include it in the GCC given Kuwaiti and Saudi objections. The FM confirmed Bahrain's readiness to resume Gulf Security Dialogue (GSD) talks in early 2010. End summary.

2.(C) NEA A/S Feltman and PM A/S Shapiro met with Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa on December 13 on the margins of the IISS Manama Dialogue. Sheikh Khalid asked whether recent developments meant that the P5 1 process had failed and noted that there was regional support for a tough stance on Iran, but that the absence of regional partners in the P5 1 talks allowed Iran room to maneuver. He made a strong pitch for more direct involvement in the talks by at least some of the states from the region. He appreciated GCC 3 consultations and read-outs from P5 1 meetings, but added that there were not enough regular meetings and first-hand participation by the states in the region. "It would help us to support you," the Foreign Minister stressed. Turkey, he said, was looking to play a constructive role and suggested that we find a way to include it, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt in the process. He also said that the GCC should not allow Omani and Qatari foot-dragging on Iran to hold back the rest of its members. "We don't need to wait for others," he emphasized.

3.(C) A/S Feltman thanked the FM for Bahrain's abstention on the Iran human rights resolution in the UN Third Committee, and noted that the Saudis have indicated they will vote in favor in the General Assembly. Sheikh Khalid said that Iranian FM Mottaki had pressed him the previous evening to vote against the resolution in the UNGA, but he assured Feltman that Bahrain would maintain its position.

4.(C) The FM agreed that we must find ways to include Iraq as a partner in the regional architecture, but that the Kuwaitis and Saudis would block any attempt to bring it into the GCC. He noted that Iran had proposed an Iran-Iraq-GCC-Yemen mechanism at the same time "they're trying to take Yemen!" He said that the way to convince the Saudis - particularly Prince Saud - to take a more active role was to show them that everyone else is playing a role in Iraq and that they need to get in the game or be left out.

5.(C) A/S Shapiro outlined plans to resume GSD talks in late February or early March in a smaller, more informal setting that would facilitate discussion of broad strategic issues. The FM confirmed that those dates sounded good and that he would chair the GSD for Bahrain. He committed to pass along one or two suggested points of discussion in January.

6.(U) A/S Feltman and A/S Shapiro have cleared this message. ERELI

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