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Viewing cable 09DOHA733, VISIT OF QATAR'S PRIME MINISTER TO WASHINGTON

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09DOHA733 2009-12-21 12:12 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Doha
VZCZCXRO2630
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDIR RUEHKUK RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDO #0733/01 3551236
ZNY SSSSS ZZH  ZDS
P 211236Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9588
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RBDHDZA/COMUSNAVCENT
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 DOHA 000733 
 
C O R R E C T E D  C O P Y  - ADDED NOFORN CAPITION 
 
SIPDIS 
NOFORN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/20/2019 
TAGS: PREL PTER KPAL KWBG EAGR QA
SUBJECT: VISIT OF QATAR'S PRIME MINISTER TO WASHINGTON 
JANUARY 4-5 
 
DOHA 00000733  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron, for reasons 1.4 (b, d) 
 
1. (S) Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani (who serves 
concurrently as Foreign Minister) of Qatar will visit 
Washington beginning January 4 to continue the strategic 
consultations that Qatar and the USG have pursued since June, 
when Near Eastern Affairs Assistant Secretary Feltman first 
proposed them in Doha.  As part of those consultations, 
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Al-Mahmoud and 
Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohamad Al-Rumaihi 
visited Washington last fall. 
 
2. (S) The Prime Minister travels to Washington with the aim 
of laying the groundwork for visits in the first half of 2010 
by Qatar's Heir Apparent and the Amir.  We believe he will be 
prepared to discuss the gaps between the USG and GOQ on 
Middle East peace and counterterrorism cooperation, as well 
as to discuss setting  the stage for joint cooperation on 
Iran, Iraq and other regional issues. 
 
3. (S) Suggested talking points for meetings with the PM: 
 
-- We thank you for bringing with you to Washington a 
commitment to fund the PA.  Your decision to do so is 
extremely important to us.  We view it as a clear gesture of 
friendship to us and of a commitment to partner with us on 
Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, just as the United States and 
Qatar have partnered on Darfur. 
 
-- As your ally and friend, we hope we can look to you to 
increase your cooperation with us on counterterrorism.  We 
want to work particularly closely with you and enacting 
policies and programs that deter financial flows to Hamas and 
the Taliban. 
 
-- In this context, we applaud your work with the IMF on 
making needed legal and procedural changes to curtail 
financing to terrorists.  We are ready to help you with 
technical support and training once the IMF and Qatar have 
worked out an action plan. 
 
-- We especially value consultations with you on Iran.  We 
recognize your national need for a working relationship with 
Iran, given the natural gas reserves you share with Iran. 
How best do you think we can persuade Iran to give up its 
military nuclear aims without military confrontation? 
 
-- We understand that you are close to announcing a decision 
to open an Embassy in Baghdad, but that much depends on 
resolving the issue of Iraq's debts to Qatar.  Is there 
anything we can do to help? 
 
 
-- We encourage you to recognize an independent Kosovo, as 
Saudi Arabia and others have now done.  We certainly 
appreciate your votes in favor of Kosovo in the IMF and World 
Bank.  They are important precursors to formal recognition, 
but when will you take that final step? 
 
-- On Yemen, we know that President Saleh asked Qatar to stop 
its mediation between the central government and Huthi 
rebels.  Given your past involvement there, what thoughts do 
you have on bringing about stability on the Arabian 
Peninsula? 
 
-- We applaud Qatar's decision to make food security a 
priority, not just for itself but for the entire Arab world. 
Food security is a priority for the USG, as well, and we 
share Qatar's view that it must be addressed through a 
combination of commerce, investment, technical assistance, 
technology transfer, and direct aid. 
 
Addressing the Fatah-Hamas Split and Funding the PA 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
4. (S) Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim (HBJ) has told NEA A/S 
Feltman that he will come with a financial commitment to fund 
the Palestinian Authority.  This is an extremely important 
gesture by Qatar to the United States.  He will also be 
prepared to discuss with Secretary Clinton and others Qatar's 
view of Hamas, continued contacts with whose leaders it sees 
as key to bringing about a stable and enduring Middle East 
peace.  We expect HBJ to share what other steps Qatar is 
prepared to take in support of the Palestinian Authority (PA) 
and, in particular, Mahmoud Abbas, whose continued leadership 
 
DOHA 00000733  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
of the PA Qatar's leaders support.  HBJ is likely to bring 
with him new ideas to reconcile Hamas and Fatah.  Given 
Qatar's history of mediation efforts HBJ will no doubt 
suggest that Qatar can play a helpful role.  Qatar's 
restoration of normal operations of the Israeli Trade Office 
in Doha would also give testimony to Qatar's willingness to 
help achieve U.S. objectives, but we do not expect the 
Qataris to take this step absent some significant gesture 
from the Israelis, such as much less restricted access to 
Gaza for Qatar's humanitarian efforts. 
 
5. (S) Qatar almost certainly will not be willing to break 
off ties or dialogue with Hamas.  If asked to do so, we think 
HBJ will explain that the Amir gave his word to both Hamas 
and Fatah that he would financially support the winner of 
democratic elections in Palestine.  Hamas won those 
elections, which the Bush Administration pressed the Amir to 
support actively.  The Amir believes that it would be 
dishonorable to isolate Hamas after he convinced its leaders 
to participate in elections that were backed by the United 
States. 
 
Greater Cooperation on Counterterrorism Needed 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
6. (S) It is important to make clear to HBJ that cooperation 
between the United States and Qatar on counterterrorism 
issues in general needs to be greatly improved.  Officials 
should make known USG concerns about the financial support to 
Hamas by Qatari charitable organizations and our concerns 
about the moral support Hamas receives from Yousef 
Al-Qaradawi.  It is also essential to stress that high-level 
Qatari political support is needed, if financial flows to 
terrorists are to stop. 
 
7. (S) An International Monetary Fund (IMF) employee began 
advising Qatar's Financial Intelligence Unit in October (in a 
relationship expected to last three full years) on making the 
necessary legal and procedural changes to address the 49 
areas in which international experts have recommended changes 
to Qatar's procedures.  We assess that the FIU is serious 
about making technical changes that will enhance Qatar's 
reputation as a global financial center, but we project that, 
absent political support from the top, the IMF/Qatari 
partnership will fall short in achieving its goals. 
 
Need for Close Consultations on Iran 
------------------------------------ 
 
8. (S) Qatar shares a mammoth natural gas field with Iran. 
As a result, Qatar carefully maintains with Iran a high tempo 
of top-level contacts , which have increased since the 
protests following Iranian presidential elections).  Qatar 
does this because it is convinced that such a close 
relationship with Iran is key to safeguarding trillions of 
dollars in potential wealth.  We are convinced that Qatar 
will not be dissuaded from maintaining those ties. 
 
9. (S) That said, Qatar's leaders -- while careful not to say 
it publicly -- do not trust Iran; and Qatar does not want 
Iran to have nuclear weapons. 
 
10. (S) Qatar's relationship with Iran is important to us 
for another reason.  Qatar hosts the forward headquarters of 
CENTCOM and allows us to use Al-Udaid Air Base for 
unrestricted air operations over Iraq and Afghanistan.  We 
pay no rent for these facilities, and the Qataris have funded 
about 60 percent of the improvements to Al-Udaid since our 
partnership on that base began.  While few, least of all 
Qatar, want a military confrontation with Iran, the USG no 
doubt would want to use these Qatari facilities in any 
kinetic operations against Iran.  Right now, we anticipate 
that Qatar would refuse to allow Qatari soil to be used to 
attack Iran, short of some sort of permanent USG security 
guarantee to Qatar, to include its offshore natural gas field 
shared with Iran. 
 
Finding a Way Forward on Iraq 
----------------------------- 
 
11. (S) For several months, Qatar has expressed frustration 
with the current government of Iraq, which it views as too 
Shi'a in orientation for its liking, but appears now to be 
prepared to consider investment offsets, provided by the 
Government of Iraq, but owned by Qatar, as a means for Iraq 
 
DOHA 00000733  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
to repay the GOI's debt owed Qatar.  That would be an avenue 
for the resumption of a political relationship, to include an 
HBJ visit to Baghdad and the opening of a Qatari Embassy in 
Iraq.  We should encourage Qatar's outreach to Baghdad and 
also encourage Iraq's government to shore up its relations 
with Doha. 
 
Recognizing Kosovo 
------------------ 
 
12. (C) MFA Assistant Minister Mohamad Al-Rumaihi told 
Ambassador December 20 that Qatar's IMF and World Bank votes 
in favor of Kosovo show Qatar's true sympathies on 
recognizing Kosovo.  The Russian President, however, has 
asked Qatar to "go slow" in announcing recognition, he said. 
Out of sensitivity to Russian concerns, Al-Rumaihi said, 
Qatar has done so.  He encouraged Secretary Clinton to ask 
HBJ about the timing of Qatar's eventual recognition, noting 
that that Qatar had been approached by organizers of a UK 
project about using its good offices with the Government of 
Kosovo to protect Kosovo's Christian heritage once Qatar 
formally recognizes its independence. 
 
Cool to Yemen's Approach on the Huthi 
------------------------------------- 
 
13. (S) Having attempted to mediate between Huthi rebels in 
Yemen and the central government there (before President 
Saleh put an end to Qatar's involvement), Qatar believes the 
Huthi tribes have legitimate grievances that the central 
government must address in dialogue and negotiations.  It can 
be expected that HBJ will discourage a military approach to 
solving the Huthi problem and claim that the role of Huthi 
elements in supporting terrorism in the guise of Al-Qaida is 
overstated. 
 
Food Security 
------------- 
 
14. (U) Qatar will host March 3-4, 2010 an international 
conference focused on food security in the Arab World.  IFAD 
(International Fund for Agricultural Development) is a 
co-host, as is the Islamic Development Bank.  The conference 
will have a set of ambitious goals, to include a conference 
declaration establishing a permanent secretariat to address 
the food security issues of the poorer states of the Arab 
League.  According to officials of Texas A&M's Borlaug 
Institute, this will be the first such conference on regional 
food security issues hosted by an Arab government in the 50 
years the institute has been active in the Middle East and 
North Africa. 
 
15. (SBU) In Embassy Doha's judgment, Qatar's food security 
policies and strategies reflect the rapidly growing intent by 
the Amir and Crown Prince to make food security a key 
national priority for Qatar, not just in terms of Qatar's own 
food security needs, but in terms of the food security needs 
of the Arab region. (HBJ supports having an active food 
security policy, as long as it has a strong commercial focus.) 
 
16. (SBU) That judgment stems from our conversations with 
Qatar government officials: 
 
-- While QNFSP's short-term focus is on the State of Qatar 
and building the domestic agricultural sector to diminish 
reliance on imports, the strategic goal of QNFSP is to export 
the technologies developed in Qatar to countries throughout 
the MENA region, and other areas with arid climates. 
 
-- Toward that end, some research results will be part of the 
public domain and available to everyone.  Some technology 
transfer to poorer MENA nations will be donor-based, through 
the activities of the offices of the State Minister for 
International Cooperation.  The third component of Qatar's 
strategic goal of exporting QNFSP technology will be more 
commercially based, and will employ public/private 
partnerships. 
 
LeBaron