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Cablegate: Egyptian Dcm: Cairo to Thwart Any Qatari

VZCZCXRO0268
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDO #0039/01 0281147
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281147Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9656
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DOHA 000039

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/26/2020
TAGS: PREL KWBG KPAL EG SU QA
SUBJECT: EGYPTIAN DCM: CAIRO TO THWART ANY QATARI
INITIATIVE

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Mirembe L. Nantongo,
for reasons 1.4 (b, d).

-----------------
(C/NF) KEY POINTS
-----------------

-- Egyptian DCM Adham Naguib told P/E Chief January 26 that
Egypt is determined to thwart every single initiative Qatar
proposes during its current term as president of the Arab
League, to include proposals that are in Egypt's national
interest.

-- Naguib recounted how he was summoned the previous week by
Egypt's Foreign Minister while in Cairo on a long-planned
trip and had his "head nearly taken off" when he suggested to
the FM that Cairo consider ways to improve its relationship
with Doha.

-- The Egyptian DCM said Qatar's involvement in Sudan,
Palestine, and Al Jazeera's vitriolic broadcasts against
Egypt were the main causes of Egyptian leaders' ire, to
include that of President Mubarak.

-- Challenged to list actions Qatar had taken in Sudan
against Egypt's interest, Naguib readily conceded there were
none. Qatar's offense, he said, stemmed from the mere act of
its mediation in Egypt's back yard.

-- Naguib suggested that emotion, more than reason, was
driving Egypt's current view of Qatar.

---------------
(C/NF) COMMENTS
---------------

-- Although fairly new to Qatar, Naguib is well spoken and
Embassy Cairo vouched for his solid reputation prior to
Naguib's arrival. We are inclined to believe Naguib is
providing this perspective to us on instruction.

-- Naguib in earlier conversations has expressed frustration
that he was assigned to Doha in order to help fix the
Egyptian-Qatari relationship, but relations had worsened
before his arrival to the point that there is little he or
anyone else at the Egyptian Embassy here can do to improve
them.

End Key Points and Comments.

1. (C/NF) Adham Naguib, Egypt's DCM at its Embassy in Qatar
(strictly protect), told P/E Chief Rice January 26 that the
Egyptian Government is determined to thwart any initiative
that Qatar proposes during its current term as president of
the Arab League, just for the sake of thwarting it. Naguib
said that the Egyptian leadership in Cairo at the highest
levels, to include President Mubarak, "is at the end of its
tether" with Qatar's leaders.

2. (C/NF) To illustrate how badly Egypt's senior leaders view
the Qataris, Naguib recounted how last week, during a
previously planned trip to Cairo, he was summoned to Egyptian
FM Ahmed Aboul Gheit's office. Naguib entered the office to
find Gheit exercising on his treadmill. The FM asked Naguib
for his assessment of the bilateral relationship with Qatar.
Naguib obliged, describing the bad climate toward Egypt in
Doha, but was cut off -- and said Gheit nearly took his "head
off" -- when Naguib suggested exploring ways that Egypt and
Qatar could improve the relationship, which he characterized
to his FM as "truly awful."

3. (C/NF) Without stopping his exercise session, Gheit raised
his voice at Naguib and referred to the Qataris, "their
mothers and their fathers, and their mothers' mothers and
fathers' fathers" in very vulgar terms. He declared to
Naguib that for the sake of Egypt's honor its government
would take no action to right the relationship with Qatar.
On the contrary, the Egyptian FM fumed, Cairo would "thwart
every single Qatari initiative that Doha tries to put forward
(during its current term) as president of the Arab League."
According to Naguib, Gheit took great pride in reporting that
Cairo had already stymied Qatari Arab League initiatives to
date (NFI).

4. (C/NF) Gheit informed Naguib that President Mubarak would
make tough remarks in a public address (which Naguib said
occurred O/A January 24) referring to the "small and upstart
country (Qatar) that would pretend to take the place of the
great and noble Egypt." Gheit emphasized to Naguib that
Mubarak himself is adamant that Cairo will thwart "every
single" Qatari initiative.

5. (C/NF) P/E Chief asked Naguib if by "every initiative"
Egypt means to thwart even Qatari proposals that would be in
Egypt's own interest. Naguib was emphatic in affirming this
is the case, and told P/E Chief that Qatar's involvement in
Sudan and Palestine was frequently cited to him in Cairo (by
officials to include FM Gheit) as examples of how Qatar aims
to bring Egypt to its knees. The Egyptian DCM added that Al
Jazeera's portrayal of Egypt and its policies is also viewed
as highly offensive in Cairo.

6. (C/NF) Leaving aside Al Jazeera and the Palestinians,
where Egyptian objections were understandable, P/E Chief
asked what Cairo objected to with regard to Qatar's mediation
in Darfur. P/E Chief observed that two U.S. special envoys
for Sudan, for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama,
had told Egyptian officials that the U.S. supports Qatar in
this mediation effort. If there is something Qatar is doing
in Sudan that Egypt finds objectionable, we need to know
about it.

7. (C/NF) Naguib responded by noting that he had pointed out
to Gheit and other officials in Cairo that "our strategic
partner the U.S. supports Qatar's efforts in Darfur." Naguib
readily conceded that he was aware of nothing objectionable
to Egypt in Qatar's Darfur mediation. He also said he had
told Egyptian officials that the U.S. believes Qatar's
actions in Darfur largely stem from humanitarian interest.
Naguib concluded that, "Frankly, Egypt is angered by Qatar's
mediation purely because it involves a country in Egypt's
back yard. There is nothing Qatar has done in Darfur that
hurts Egypt or its interests."

8. (C/NF) Naguib closed out the conversation on Egypt's
bilateral relationship with Qatar by emphasizing again the
depth of Egypt's leaders' anger with Qatar. This is why, he
said, the message from Cairo was clear: Egypt will oppose
any Qatari initiative during its term as president of the
Arab League, even should Qatar propose something in Egypt's
national interest. The situation is truly that bad, declared
Naguib.

Nantongo

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