Ref ID: 09TRIPOLI117
Date: 2/9/2009 16:08
Origin: Embassy Tripoli
Header: P 091608Z FEB 09FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLITO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4440INFO OSD WASHINGTON DCNSC WASHINGTON DCAMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
C O N F I D E N T I A L TRIPOLI 000117 FOR NEA/MAG, PM, ISN E.O. 12958: DECL: 2/9/2019 TAGS: PREL, MARR, KNNP, LY SUBJECT: GOL PRESSING FOR BROAD AGREEMENTS ON SECURITY AND NUCLEAR COOPERATION CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1.(C) During a February 8 meeting, MFA Secretary for the Americas Dr. Ahmed Fituri told the Ambassador that National Security Adviser Muatassim al-Qadhafi is looking forward to his planned trip to Washington in April and expects to sign a broad security cooperation agreement with the United States during the visit. The recently-agreed memorandum of understanding on military cooperation (signed by Fituri in Washington in January) was “not enough”, Fituri said. In addition, the GOL expects to sign an “umbrella agreement” on civilian nuclear cooperation. Fituri said that the GOL believes it needs such an agreement in order to do business directly with private U.S. nuclear suppliers. Muatassim is also looking forward to initiating the political-military dialogue during his visit; Fituri said the GOL would soon respond to the U.S. nonpaper on ideas for the agenda. Other pending agreements – the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement and the Education and Cultural Agreement – could also be signed during the visit, Fituri said.
2.(C) The Ambassador responded that Washington considers the Mutaissim visit an important opportunity to advance the bilateral security relationship. Repeating points he made to senior MFA adviser Obeidi the previous week, the Ambassador suggested that the two sides make progress on issues already in play before embarking on new agreements. In particular, it was unusual for the United States to enter into broad security commitments with other governments. A joint statement, as discussed in connection with former Secretary Rice’s visit to Tripoli in September, would be a more appropriate vehicle. If there were areas where the GOL wanted to cooperate with the U.S., such as border security or legal cooperation, then we could consider entering into cooperation agreements on those specific issues.
3.(C) As for Fituri’s suggestion regarding an “umbrella agreement” for civilian nuclear cooperation, the Ambassador said the current focus should be on concluding the pending Highly-enriched Uranium-Low-enriched Uranium (HEU-LEU) agreement for the return of spent nuclear reactor fuel from Libya to Russia. The Ambassador said he would be pleased to discuss these issues directly with Muatassim; Fituri undertook to arrange a meeting soon. The Ambassador suggested that the non-security-related agreements on trade and education could be signed in Tripoli as soon as the GOL was ready.
4.(C) Fituri asked whether the head of the U.S. Africa Command, General Ward, would accept the GOL’s invitation to visit Libya in February. The Ambassador said that General Ward’s schedule was full in February, and that the Embassy was in touch with the General’s staff and would convey alternative dates soon. Fituri said General Ward’s visit would be particularly important now that Libya had been elected head of the African Union.
5.(C) Comment: The GOL has been pressing for a broad agreement on security, including a commitment to come to Libya’s aid if it were attacked, since last fall. The Libya proposal for a civilian nuclear agreement has been in play since then as well. Post’s attempts to steer the GOL away from these overly broad and ambitious initiatives have so far not persuaded the GOL to drop them. Fituri told the Ambassador in a one-on-one setting after the meeting concluded that these agreements were necessary to prove to “doubters” in the regime that the U.S. would live up to its commitment to treat Libya as a full partner once Libya had abandoned its WMD and foresworn terrorism. Given the impasse, Post recommends presenting the GOL – likely via Muatassim – with a formal proposal for a joint statement on security cooperation in lieu of an agreement, together with cleared points outlining why the U.S. cannot enter into a broad bilateral security agreement or an agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation at this time. End comment. CRETZ