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Cablegate: Ambassador Engages Uae Arabic Media to Correct

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAD #0106 0250819
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250818Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0186
INFO GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ABU DHABI 000106

SIPDIS
STATE FOR NEA/ARP (BMCGOVERN), NEA/PPD (DBENZE, PAGNEW)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR KPAO HA AE
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR ENGAGES UAE ARABIC MEDIA TO CORRECT
MISPERCEPTIONS ON U.S. EFFORTS IN HAITI

REF: ABU DHABI 96

1. (U) SUMMARY: Ambassador Olson granted two interviews to UAE
Arabic media on January 21, 2010 to provide an accurate view of
U.S. and global assistance to Haiti, in the aftermath of the
earthquake in Haiti. The interviews also served to correct
misperceptions about the U.S. role in Haiti, specifically as
reported in a January 20, 2010 article in Sharjah-based Arabic
daily Al Khaleej, entitled "Haiti comes under militarization and
its children become slaves". The interviews resulted in positive
and more accurate coverage of U.S. efforts in Haiti in local Arabic
and English press. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Following up on limited negative reporting on U.S. efforts
in Haiti in the local media, Ambassador Olson called the Editor of
Al-Khaleej newspaper to complain about biased coverage, then
subsequently gave a television interview to Abu Dhabi TV and a
print interview to Emirates News Agency (WAM) - the official UAE
news agency - on January 21, 2010. The television interview was
dubbed into Arabic, and the print interview appeared in both
English and Arabic publications.

3. (U) In both interviews the Ambassador discussed the U.S.
response to the earthquake in Haiti, highlighting that the United
States is responding to an invitation from the Haitian Government
to assist. He emphasized that the U.S. is acting in cooperation
with international aid efforts and in close coordination with the
Haitian Government, United Nations, and global community. To
correct inaccurate coverage of U.S. activities in Haiti that
appeared in a January 20, 2010 article in Sharjah-based Arabic
daily Al Khaleej (REFTEL), the Ambassador emphasized the
humanitarian nature of U.S. activities and clarified the U.S. role
in rehabilitating the airport and facilitating entry to the United
States for Haitian children. The Ambassador also praised UAE
contributions to Haiti, commending the UAEG on their assistance.

4. (U) The Ambassador's comments received positive coverage in
both local Arabic and English press. Abu Dhabi TV ran a three
minute story in the local news and main evening newscasts on
January 21, 2010. Positive coverage of the Ambassador's interview
with WAM was prominent in articles in Abu Dhabi-based Arabic daily
"Al Ittihad", Abu Dhabi-based Arabic daily "Akhbar Al Arab",
Dubai-based English Daily "Gulf News", and Sharjah-based English
Daily "The Gulf Today". Most significantly, Al Khaleej ran a
second story based on the Ambassador's WAM interview that offered a
more accurate view of the U.S. role in Haiti.

5. (U) The Embassy and Consulate General will continue to monitor
UAE media coverage on U.S. aid efforts in Haiti and follow up as
required.
OLSON

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