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Cablegate: Mfa's Arab World Department Discusses Abu Mazen's

DE RUEHKU #0023/01 0121438
P 121438Z JAN 10

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 000023
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/12/2019
Classified By: Political Counselor Pete O’Donohue for reasons 1.4 b and
1. (U) There is an action request in para 7.
2. (C) Summary: The head of MFA’s Arab World Department,
Ambassador Jassem Mubaraki, told Polcouns January 12 that
Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s January 5 - 6
visit to Kuwait and meeting with the Amir was positive, and
provided an opportunity for Kuwait to encourage Abbas to
remain in politics and focus on Palestinian reconciliation as
an essential step towards a peace agreement with Israel.
Mubaraki confirmed that the MFA would deliver a similar
message on Palestinian reconciliation to HAMAS leader Khaled
Mishaal later January 12 when he visits Kuwait. FM Dr.
Mohammed separately confirmed to Ambassador that the GoK
would provide $50 million for the PA via the World Bank Trust
Fund once discussions with the Parliament over a contentious
personal debt foregiveness bill are concluded. Mubaraki also
noted Kuwait’s growing concern over increasing instability in
Yemen, strong interest in and intent to participate in the
January 28 London conference, and raised Kuwaiti concern
about recent comments by CENTCOM Commander General Petraeus
suggesting the possibility of a military option in dealing
with Iran. End Summary. GOK Urges Palestinian Reconciliation
3. (C) Ambassador Jassem Al-Mubaraki, Director of MFA’s Arab
World Department, in a January 12 conversation with Polcouns,
said the highlight of Palestine Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas’s January 5 - 6 visit to Kuwait was an open and direct
chat with Kuwaiti Amir Shaykh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al Sabah.
Mubaraki -- who had been out of Kuwait during Abbas’s visit,
but was subsequently briefed on it -- noted that the Amir had
urged President Abbas to abandon any thought of stepping down
from Palestinian politics and to continue to lead efforts to
bring about Palestinian reconciliation, consistent with
existing Egyptian efforts to promote peace and
reconciliation. Reconciliation between the Palestinian
factions, the Amir suggested, was a necessary first step
towards a meaningful peace process; Israel needed an
interlocutor who had the authority to make commitments and
would not negotiate with a divided Palestinian entity.
Mubaraki said that Abbas hinted that he might stay on if he
sees "a glimmer of hope" in the
MEPP, but would otherwise be inclined to step down. Mubaraki
noted that the GOK views Abbas as a "moderate who we can
trust and rely on" and strongly desires his continued role as
Palestinian leader. Mubaraki said Abbas agreed that a
continued focus on the peace process -- with Palestinian
reconciliation as a first step -- was the only viable option.
The two other options, "war with Israel" or indefinite
lingering in a "no war/no peace" status were non-starters.
Mubaraki added that the GOK was inspired by President Obama’s
"seriousness" about ending this long-standing regional
problem and is eager to meet him half way; essential steps
toward this end will include, in addition to Palestinian
reconciliation, a more forthcoming Israeli position on
settlements and the status of Jerusalem, consistent with
existing features of the MEPP roadmap.
4. (C) Responding to Polcouns inquiries about a reported
imminent visit by Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal, Mubaraki said
that Mishaal had, indeed, already arrived in Kuwait and would
be dining with Mubaraki and other MFA officials later on
January 12. Mubaraki noted that the GOK’s message to Mishaal
would be similar to the Amir’s message to Abbas -- that
Palestinian reconciliation within the framework of the
Egyptian-led peace effort "and under Egyptian supervision"
was an essential first step towards a peace
process that Israel could take seriously. Mubaraki said
that Egypt’s Ambassador to Kuwait called on him on January 11
and asked MFA to stress to Mishaal GOK support for an
Egyptian decision to install steel barriers on its territory
to inhibit smuggling between Gaza and Egypt. "Egypt views
this a national security issue; but it is not helping Israel
to lay siege to Gaza." Mubaraki said the GOK fully supports
Egypt’s position and will convey this to Mishaal. (Comment:
Mubaraki’s positive slant on Abu Mazen may reflect his
personal views more than that of the GOK as a whole.
Earlier, MFA U/S Khalid Jarallah told Ambassador that the
GOK’s support for Abu Mazen was based on his personal KUWAIT 00000023 002 OF 002
integrity, rather than blanket support or a preference for PA
rather than HAMAS leadership, which they believe must be
brought in for any sucessful and sustainable solution.
Although Mubaraki did not appear aware of the commitment, FM
Dr. Mohammed had earlier confirmed to the Ambassador that the
GoK has agreed to provide $50 million for the PA via the
World Bank Trust Fund after current wrangling with the
parliament over a personal debts forgiveness bill is
concluded. End Comment.)
Growing Concern Over Instability in Yemen
5. (C) Turning to the subject of Yemen, Mubaraki noted that
the GOK is deeply concerned by growing instability there and,
like the USG, views the specter of Yemen becoming even more
of an Al-Qaeda base as "a terrible scenario, if true." He
added that Kuwait is also paying close attention to the
central government’s war on the Houthis (and wondering what
Iran’s role is in this) and to the prospect that corruption
and weakness in the Sanaa government could lead to a
worsening situation in southern Yemen, possibly to include a
movement in that part of the country to break away from the
rest of Yemen. Mubaraki acknowledged that the GOK is
particularly concerned that instability in Yemen is a serious
threat to Saudi Arabia, a GCC partner and a pillar of overall
Gulf stability. Mubaraki noted that the GOK has been invited
to attend a January 28 UK-hosted summit in London on the
situation in Yemen and is interested in attending; the GOK
would like to know at what level the USG will be represented
at this meeting, so it can determine an appropriate
delegation. While being clear that the GOK is still
studying the situation in Yemen, he noted that Kuwait
believes it is important for well-wishers to take care in how
and to whom they dispense assistance. He suggested that
while the central government in Sanaa is corrupt, direct
assistance to tribals could provide Iran with an excuse to
intervene directly among the Houthis; such issues needed to
be considered carefully.
Tread Carefully on Iran
6. (C) Further on the theme of Iran, Mubaraki expressed
concern over public remarks CENTCOM commander General
Petraeus reportedly used January 10 referring to the possible
use of force to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. (Note:
Mubaraki was apparently referring to a Petraeus interview on
CNN’s "Amanpour" show in which he acknowledged that the US
had developed contingency plans for dealing with Iran’s
nuclear facilities. End Note.) Mubaraki told POLCouns that
the GOK is concerned by any possible use of force in dealing
with Iran and believes the international community needs to
deal carefully with an Ahmadinejad regime that is under a
great deal of stress because of internal dissension. Mubaraki
suggested that the Iranian regime could seize on outside
threats, even vague or indirect ones, as a way to rally support for itself; the international community will do
better to wait and watch while internal events in Iran play
themselves out.
7. (U) Embassy requests Department to provide, as
appropriate, information on planned level of USG attendance
at the London conference on Yemen, so these can be shared
with the GOK.
********* *********************************************
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit:
visit Kuwait’s Classified Website at: it
********* *********************************************

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