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Viewing cable 07DUBAI59, UNDER SECRETARY BURNS' JANUARY 23 MEETING WITH UAE VICE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07DUBAI59 2007-01-28 08:08 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Dubai
VZCZCXRO0724
RR RUEHBC RUEHDIR RUEHKUK
DE RUEHDE #0059/01 0280812
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 280812Z JAN 07
FM AMCONSUL DUBAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5072
INFO RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 2084
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 8134
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUBAI 000059 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  1/28/2017 
TAGS: PGOV PINS MARR AE IR IS LE
SUBJECT: UNDER SECRETARY BURNS' JANUARY 23 MEETING WITH UAE VICE 
PRESIDENT, PRIME MINISTER AND DUBAI RULER MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL 
MAKTOUM 
 
REF: DUBAI 00018 
 
DUBAI 00000059  001.2 OF 002 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Paul R Sutphin, Consul General, Dubai, UAE. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
 
 
 
1.(C) Summary: In a January 23 meeting in Dubai with U/S Burns, 
UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Dubai Ruler Sheikh 
Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (MbR) expressed concern about the 
potential negative impact on Dubai of  possible future UN 
sanctions against Iran; he urged the quiet US-UAE cooperation on 
financial and export control restrictions against Iran, offering 
to set up a "joint committee" to this end.  He agreed that Iran 
should not have nuclear weapons, but warned of the dire regional 
consequences of military action.  U/S Burns said the US would 
protect its interests in the region and support Gulf governments 
in resisting efforts by Iran to dominate the region. He 
emphasized the importance of continued support for the Siniora 
government in Lebanon, and the high priority the US put on a 
renewed effort to move the Israelis and Palestinians toward 
peace.  U/S Burns raised the case of Amcit Vafa Valapour, which 
has been under criminal investigation in Dubai for nearly 16 
months without charges before a court(although under the local 
system police charges have been filed); MbR asked his aides to 
ensure the case moved forward as rapidly and transparently as 
possible  End Summary. 
 
2.(C) On January 23, U/S for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns 
met with MbR for one hour in MbR's downtown office.  Burns was 
accompanied by NEA PDAS Jim Jeffrey, the Ambassador, the Consul 
General, P Staff assistant Herro Mustafa and ConGen notetaker. 
MbR was accompanied by his sons Sheikh Hamdan (who chairs the 
Dubai Executive Council, the Emirate's governing body) and 
Sheikh Mayed; Minister for Cabinet Affairs (and Dubai Holdings 
head) Mohammed Gergawi; federal Minister for Education Dr. Hanif 
al Qasimi; Dubai General Security Service head Brigadier 
Mohammed al Qemzi; Dubai World head Sultan bin Sulayem; and 
Emirates Airlines chairman and Dubai Civil Aviation head Sheikh 
Ahmed bin Sayed al Maktoum. U/S Burns expressed admiration for 
the Dubai's rapid development, hailing it as an open and 
productive model that was now being emulated throughout the 
region. 
 
3.(C) Lebanon: U/S Burns conveyed the gratitude of the Lebanese 
government for financial and other assistance from the UAE.  MbR 
said the UAE understands that the Siniora government needs 
regional support. U/S Burns urged continued assistance, noting 
the US will soon offer the Siniora government $1 billion for 
security and reconstruction efforts. 
 
4.(C) Iran sanctions: U/S Burns highlighted the significance of 
the June 2006 international offer to negotiate with Iran to 
resolve the nuclear issue--the first official US offer to 
negotiate with Tehran in 27 years.  Tehran had rejected this 
broadly-supported, reasonable proposal, which offered economic 
incentives such as sanctions relief and the sale of civilian 
airliners in addition to negotiations.  U/S Burns said that the 
UNSCR 1737's limited sanctions were a first step to pressure 
Iran to compromise, but that absent Iranian movement another, 
more restrictive, sanctions resolution is likely in February. 
The US was also taking bilateral action through Treasury 
designations against Iranian banks that were funding terrorism. 
 
5.(C) MbR expressed willingness to cooperate in financial 
restrictions against Iran, but urged that the cooperation be 
conducted quietly; he offered to set up a "joint committee" to 
do so (he did not offer details); he later repeated this offer 
with regard to military transfers (see para 8).  He voiced 
concern regarding the potential negative impact of economic 
sanctions on Dubai, and against the "good Iranians" -- including 
Dubai's estimated 350,000 Iranians residents. U/S Burns and 
Ambassador Sison expressed readiness to engage with Dubai on 
financial cooperation against Iran. (Note: the number of 
resident Iranians was supplied by Al Qemzi, and is higher that 
the 200-300 thousand usual cited by the Dubai officials.) 
 
6.(C) Iran and Gulf Security: U/S Burns stated that the US will 
protect its interests and support its allies, like the UAE, in 
the face of Iranian attempts to dominate the Gulf.  This is why 
we have stationed a second carrier battle group there, and have 
detained Iranian agents in Iraq who were providing arms and bomb 
components used to kill US troops.  MbR stated that the UAE does 
not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, and urged continued 
international pressure on Iran, but expressed deep concern about 
the destabilizing consequences to the UAE and to region of a 
military strike.  He urged that the US find a way to stop or 
disarm Iran without using military force.  U/S Burns reiterated 
 
DUBAI 00000059  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
that the US wants a diplomatic solution, and is working with the 
UN and its allies toward this end; strong UAE support was 
important to this effort. 
 
7.(C) MbR expressed hope for change inside Iran, which U/S Burns 
echoed.  Burns noted the US wants to support the influence of 
moderate Iranians and encourage Iran to engage in negotiations. 
Minister Gergawi mentioned rumors that Supreme leader Khamenei 
is suffering from prostate cancer.  Gergawi opined that the 
merchant class in Iran has been pressuring Ahmadinejad over his 
failing economic policy.  He asserted that the growing sectarian 
conflict in Iraq, as well as the hanging of Saddam Hussein 
(which, he implied, was inspired by Iranian pressure), have now 
undermined the possibility of a regional alliance between 
extremist Sunnis and Shia.  Regional Sunnis now blame Iran for 
instability in Lebanon and Iraq. (Note: Gergawi's family is of 
Iranian origin, and he acts as one of MbR's principal advisors 
on Iran.) 
 
8.(C) Security cooperation: U/S Burns called the Gulf 
Cooperation Council a good forum for quiet security cooperation, 
and reiterated that the US seeks a close, productive dialogue 
with the UAE on Gulf security.  The US opposes arms sales to 
Iran and will urge its partners in the European Union, Russia 
and the Middle East to cooperate on this front.  MbR reiterated 
his offer to set up a committee to cooperate on these issues. 
 
9.(C) Israel/Palestinians: U/S Burns stressed that the US 
believes progress between Israel and the Palestinians toward 
peace is central to regional stability, and supports the 
creation of a Palestinian state.  This would be "the best 
thing," MbR replied; a peace deal would make radical groups like 
HAMAS "everyone's enemy". Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 
should be supported, particularly since HAMAS is funded by Iran. 
 MbR noted UAE assistance was again flowing to the Palestinians, 
although it had been suspended for a time because of corruption 
concerns.  U/S Burns said the US is careful to ensure its 
assistance is going to the Palestinian people, rather than the 
HAMAS government, and is confident in the assistance mechanisms 
now in place. 
 
10.(C) Valapour case: U/S Burns raised the case of Amcit Vafa 
Valapour, who has been under criminal investigation in Dubai for 
nearly 16 months. U/S Burns said the US sought return of 
Valapour's passport, which has been held by the Dubai police. 
He underscored that, while he was taking no substantive position 
on the merits of the case, the US believes the case should move 
forward with due process as quickly as possible.  MbR was 
unfamiliar with the case, and turned to Gergawi for background. 
Gergawi outlined the Dubai government view of the case, saying 
the bottom line is that Valapour and his non-USC partners had 
profited from insider information in a deal on the Dubai Metro 
project with a corrupt Dubai official. "We don't tolerate 
corruption," Gergawi concluded.  The Consul General noted that 
he had recently met with the Dubai Attorney General (reftel) on 
the case.  The AG had agreed to meet with Valapour's US and 
Emirati representatives to help to resolve the issue.  MbR asked 
his aides to ensure the case moved forward as quickly and 
transparently as possible, and promised Valapour would receive 
fair treatment. 
 
11.(C) Afghanistan: U/S Burns expressed appreciation for UAE 
assistance in Afghanistan, and urged support for the Karzai 
government. MbR asserted the UAE and US are partners against 
drugs, money laundering, and terrorism and in Afghanistan.  He 
said the best weapon against the Taliban was economic 
investment. U/S Burns outlined ongoing reconstruction efforts, 
and noted the difficulty of creating economically viable 
substitutes for drug crops.  MbR said Karzai is reluctant to 
tackle the drug issue because he fears decreased support in the 
provinces. 
 
12.(C) Comment: MbR offered little new, other than his somewhat 
vague offer to create a bilateral committee to address financial 
and arms/technology flows to Iran. He is clearly concerned 
regarding the prospect of more comprehensive UN economic 
sanctions, given that Iran is Dubai's largest trading partner, 
an assertion often cited by Dubai officials (although good 
Dubai/Iran trade numbers are hard to come by).  We will follow 
up to try to get a better read on the scope of MbR's offer. 
SUTPHIN