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Viewing cable 05BRASILIA760, ARAB DIPLOMATS WEIGH BRAZIL'S READINESS TO HOST SUMMIT REF:

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05BRASILIA760 2005-03-18 21:09 2011-02-06 00:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Brasilia
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000760 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/15/2015 
TAGS: PREL PTER KSUM ETRD XF XM IS BR
SUBJECT: ARAB DIPLOMATS WEIGH BRAZIL'S READINESS TO HOST SUMMIT REF: 
A. BRASILIA 564 
B. BRASILIA 574 
C. BRASILIA 658 
D. BRASILIA 718 

Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION PHILLIP CHICOLA. REASONS: 1.4 (B AND D) 

1. (SBU) During March 17 Tunisia National Day reception, numerous Arab diplomats expressed concerns to Poloff about the lethargic pace of administrative and substantive preparations for the May Arab-South America Summit in Brasilia. According to the diplomats, numerous logistical issues, in particular hotel accommodations, have not yet been settled. While it is unclear whether these problems will dampen high level attendance at the Summit, Arab embassies in Brasilia appear to be unhappy with Ministry of External Relations' (MRE) arrangements. On the substantive side, one diplomat noted that negotiations over the Summit declaration are driving the Summit agenda -- not the other way around -- to the detriment of the Summit's ostensive raison d'etre: improving Arab-South American economic-commercial and cultural ties. 

2. (C) Even at this late date, attendance by Arab heads of state is up in the air. (Note: Most, if not all, South American Presidents are expected to be in Brasilia.) Most Arab League foreign ministers will likely participate -- even Libya, which objected to having a Summit with the South Americans at this time, will reportedly send a delegation. However, based on comments by Arab diplomats, no more than four or five Arab heads of state will come to Brasilia. Regarding the possible attendance of President Mubarak, perceived as the key to robust participation by other Arab leaders, the Egyptian DCM explained that the political timing of the May Summit is terrible for the Egyptian President. He did not see any possibility Mubarak would come to Brasilia. Moroccan and Algerian diplomats confirmed that King Mohamed and President Bouteflika would participate. Both countries are playing host to important pre-Summit meetings, and both heads of state will likely sign a number of accords with Brazil and Mercosul during their visits. 

3. (C) On March 17 several Brazilian newspapers reported that MRE would turn down an expected USG request for observer status at the Summit, arguing that "the Summit should not be open to third-party observers because it is aimed solely at tightening commercial and cultural ties among the participants." The quoted MRE source added that "international observers are allowed in Mercosul summit meetings because the bloc is a forum for political negotiations." 

4. (C) Diplomats recognized clearly that the story had been planted, but could not comprehend what was behind it. According to the Ecuadorian DCM, the South Americans believe that allowing Summit observers added undue "complications", although she did not say whether this was a consensus decision by the South Americans or a unilateral one by Brazil. Nor could she explain why Mercosul meetings were "political" and this Summit not. Arab diplomats expressed surprise. After receiving a more accurate portrayal from poloff about the informal USG request to be an observer, and that we understood other countries such as Mexico had made the same request, the Egyptian DCM was struck by MRE's apparent anti-U.S. twist to the issue. Poloff tried to obtain an explanation from the likely MRE source behind the story, but was told the official was just then departing for Algeria. 

5. (C) Comment: In their preparations for the Summit, the Brazilians are clearly behind the eight-ball. We have had similar frustrations with the GOB over preparations for Global Forum IV on Anti-Corruption, slated for June in Brasilia, and can empathize with the Arab diplomats who just shake their heads. While the MRE leak to the press about possible USG observer status was an unnecessary pinch, it does suggest the Brazilians are feeling pressured by us on the more important issue of the Summit declaration. The press story may be a small message to us, but it is perhaps a larger reflection of the level of concern being felt by MRE leadership about the Summit itself. It is also reflective of a growing propensity on the part of the MRE to score political points at our expense. 

Danilovich