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Cablegate: Oman - Fm's Bland Interview Nonetheless Irritates Yemen

VZCZCXRO1487
RR RUEHDE
DE RUEHMS #1077 3431511
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091511Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1032
INFO GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHYN/AMEMBASSY SANAA 0026

UNCLAS MUSCAT 001077

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV GCC IR YM MU
SUBJECT: OMAN - FM'S BLAND INTERVIEW NONETHELESS IRRITATES YEMEN

1. (SBU) Summary. Oman's Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs,
Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdulla (YbA) gave a lengthy interview to the
London-based Arabic-language daily al Hayat. In it, YbA did not
break new ground; instead, he did tour a large segment of the Omani
horizon. Although he apparently intended no controversy, the
interview aroused interest in Yemen. End Summary.

2. (SBU) While the Sultan and virtually the entire Omani government
were at the interior city of Nizwa for the Sultan's opening of the
Council of Oman, the reception of new ambassadors' credentials
(including that of Ambassador Schmierer), and the appointment of
new Omani ambassadors throughout the last two weeks of November,
YbA granted an interview there to al Hayat. YbA rarely does
lengthy interviews; he apparently felt it time to reiterate his
version of Omani policy.

3. (SBU) Questioned about fundamentalism and extremism in the Arab
world, YbA gave a classic response that extremism is not a plague
in the Arab world, but a stage that will end when those behind it
end. He said that Omanis "are by nature not extremists and
bloodthirsty and have therefore not been affected or [has it] led
our country to tragedies and sorrows."

4. (SBU) On Gulf security, YbA stressed that Oman does not have a
problem, as an Arab nation, with Iran. Thus, Arab League Secretary
General Amr Musa's call for an Arab-Iranian Dialogue is positive.
"Oman considers Iran a neighbor and this should be always
considered positive and not negative," YbA said. On Iranian
possession of nuclear weapons, YbA delivered another of his regular
responses: why single out Iran, as "Israel, the United States,
Russia and the west too have them?"

5. (SBU) When questioned on Yemen, YbA pronounced that he did not
fear possible fragmentation of Yemen because of the Huthi rebellion
or the Southern Movement. He said what worries Oman is the Yemeni
inability to develop itself. However, the problems rob Yemen of
the "precious time which they must exploit to build an economy and
create the middle class which is the backbone of stability." He
concluded this point by saying that "the Joint Meeting parties can,
with the government, find the base that they agree on for absorbing
all the problems in the north and south."

6. (SBU) When questioned whether Yemeni membership in the GCC would
be a step for resolving Yemen's economic crises and the resulting
poverty and unemployment, which provides fertile ground for
political turmoil, YbA made the perhaps unfortunate statement "We
do not think so in the GCC. We passed over Yemen's [membership]
but the two sides will have a very special relationship." [Note:
This reportedly caused irritation in Sanaa, but in fact the GCC and
YbA himself are on record as supporting eventual Yemeni membership
in the GCC. End Note.]

7. (SBU) On November 26, "al Khaleej" and "al Hayat" both reported
that "Islah" Party and opposition media in Yemen welcomed the call
by YbA for dialogue between the Yemeni government and the
opposition. The Saudi daily "al Watan" also reported that Yemeni
opposition parties hoped now for Omani mediation with the
government.
Schmierer

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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