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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1559, PDAS COUNTRYMAN MEETS WITH MOD OFFICIALS TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1559 2009-08-11 11:11 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #1559/01 2231141
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 111141Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3389
INFO RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 001559 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2019 
TAGS: PREL MASS ETTC PARM EG
SUBJECT: PDAS COUNTRYMAN MEETS WITH MOD OFFICIALS TO 
DISCUSS END-USE ISSUES 
 
REF: A. STATE 62775 
     B. CAIRO 1114 
     C. CAIRO 458 
     D. CAIRO 805 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey per 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  Key Points: 
 
-- (C) On August 2, PM PDAS Tom Countryman led an interagency 
visit to Cairo to discuss recent potential violations of the 
Government of Egypt,s (GOE) end-use, retransfer, and 
security obligations involving U.S.-provided defense articles 
and defense services with the Ministry of Defense.  He 
stressed the importance of Egypt demonstrating that it is 
taking concrete actions to prevent further violations. 
 
-- (C)  MOD agreed to continue an OMC-provided end-use 
training course, create a new MOD-administered periodic 
training course, name a high-level official to be a point of 
contact on end-use issues, and add end-use issues to the 
agenda for the annual Military Cooperation Committee 
meetings.  MOD declined to sign any written agreement 
outlining these steps. 
 
-- (C) Assistant Minister of Defense Mohammed al-Assar 
emphasized that Egypt took its end-use obligations "very 
seriously" and was taking "all measures" to prevent further 
incidents.  He added that recent violations involved "junior 
officers making mistakes" without any high-level involvement. 
 
-------------------------------- 
End-Use Monitoring Working Group 
-------------------------------- 
 
2.  (C)  On August 2, PM PDAS Tom Countryman led an 
interagency visit to Cairo to discuss recent potential 
violations of the Government of Egypt,s (GOE) end-use, 
retransfer, and security obligations involving U.S.-provided 
defense articles and defense services (ref A) involving U.S.- 
origin equipment and technology with the Ministry of Defense. 
 The delegation included representatives from PM/RSAT, 
NEA/ELA, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff 
and U.S. Central Command.  Major General Mohammed al-Assar, 
Assistant Minister of Defense for Policy, led the Egyptian 
side, accompanied by Major General Fouad Abdel Halim, 
Assistant Minister of Defense for Armament and Major General 
Ahmed al-Moataz, Chief of the U.S. Relations branch. 
 
3.  (C)  Al-Assar said he had "high hopes" for establishing a 
"new dialogue" with the U.S. following President Obama's June 
speech in Cairo.  Egypt's relationship with the U.S. 
is "tremendously important," he continued, viewing the 
military-military relationship as the "backbone" of bilateral 
cooperation.  PDAS Countryman expressed appreciation for the 
strategic relationship with Egypt and strong security 
cooperation over the last 30 years. 
 
4.  (C)  PDAS Countryman noted that overall, Egypt has a good 
record of protecting its large inventory of U.S. equipment 
and technology.  Many countries, however, expend great energy 
to illegally obtain U.S. technology.  In order to provide our 
partners with the best military equipment available, strict 
protections must exist to prevent compromise, he added.  PDAS 
Countryman stressed the important role Congress plays in 
monitoring end-use compliance.  He explained that the 
Department, through the PM Bureau, was required to notify 
Congress of any potential end-use violations. 
 
5.  (C) PDAS Countryman emphasized the importance of a clear 
and transparent picture of Egypt's end-use performance, 
including the measures being taken to prevent further 
violations.  He noted that Egypt had more potential Section 3 
violations than any other country in the world over the last 
several years.  Cases involving the Chinese, he continued, 
were of particular concern (ref A).  If Egypt cannot 
demonstrate that it is taking the necessary steps to prevent 
future violations, the necessary Congressional consent for 
important Foreign Military Financing (FMF)-funded programs 
could be delayed, such as M1A1 co-production and the proposed 
purchase of F-16 aircraft. 
 
6.  (C) SDO/DATT Major General Williams offered his 
assessment of the recent potential violations, saying that 
the cases demonstrated a lack of awareness amongst MOD 
officials on end-use rules.  He explained that the Office of 
Military Cooperation (OMC) had already begun a training 
program for mid-level Egyptian officials to address the lack 
of awareness, noting that OMC had received full cooperation 
 
from MOD on delivering the course (ref B).  General Williams 
added that the MOD had agreed to include end-use issues in 
the agenda for the annual Military Cooperation Committee 
meeting.  He also highlighted the increase in third-party 
transfer requests from the MOD, indicating that the training 
program had increased awareness of end-use regulations. 
 
7.  (C)  Major General Abdel Halim, who is responsible for 
the FMF program, stressed that Egypt follows all regulations, 
including the end-use, retransfer and security obligations 
included with every purchase of U.S. equipment made by the 
GOE.  He noted that until the last four years, Egypt had no 
Section 3 violations, adding that the recent violations were 
a "minor thing" that could be overcome.  On the recent 
violations, he said that MOD had been very transparent with 
the Embassy on discussing each individual case.  Al-Assar 
stressed that Egypt takes its end-use obligations "very 
seriously" and was taking "all measures" to prevent further 
incidents.  He said that recent violations involved "junior 
officers making mistakes" without any high-level involvement. 
 In the case of the reverse engineering of a 155 mm gun tube 
(ref C), the MOD quickly fired the engineer involved and said 
the engineer "did not know it was a violation." 
 
----------- 
Way Forward 
----------- 
 
8.  (C) PDAS Countryman acknowledged Egypt,s good faith 
efforts to report and redress apparent violations.  He 
outlined several steps Egypt could take to demonstrate its 
commitment to preventing further end-use violations. 
Al-Assar replied that the MOD cooperated fully with OMC and 
was already taking the appropriate measures to prevent a 
reoccurrence, including naming a point of contact responsible 
for end-use issues.  Al-Assar said that the MOD considered 
raising end-use awareness amongst its officials to be an 
important goal, but stressed that training had to be 
conducted "carefully" in order to prevent the appearance of 
"U.S. interference."  Major General Abdel Halim suggested 
that the MOD could provide periodic training (every two 
months) to the "consigned officers" responsible for 
protecting U.S. equipment and technology under the auspices 
of the Armament Authority.  This training would then filter 
down to the operators of U.S. equipment at the unit level. 
Having MOD officials quietly deliver the training, instead of 
Americans, would allow MOD to frame the training as 
"self-protection" of Egyptian equipment and not as a new 
restriction from the U.S. 
 
9.  (C)  PDAS Countryman commented on the recent violations, 
saying that in the case of the 155 gun tube, MOD did the 
right thing by taking swift action against the engineer 
responsible, adding that the case did not raise much concern. 
 The case involving the visit of a Chinese military official 
to an F-16 base (ref D), however, did raise genuine concerns 
about the transfer of US technology.  He noted that U.S. 
concerns over the visit had already delayed Egypt's request 
to purchase F-16 aircraft.  PDAS Countryman stressed the 
importance of receiving a consistent story of what happened 
during the Chinese official's visit (Note: We have received 
conflicting reports from MOD officials on what the Chinese 
official saw during his tour.  End Note).  PDAS Countryman 
suggested that the MOD should conduct an internal analysis of 
the eight potential Section 3 violations over the last four 
years to identify the reason behind each violation, which 
would help guide any solution.  An analytical review would 
also help determine if training is reaching the right 
audience. 
10.  (C)  Al-Assar did not respond directly, but said MOD was 
open to any program that would increase awareness of its 
end-use, retransfer and security obligations.  PDAS 
Countryman urged the MOD to take proactive, concrete steps to 
demonstrate its determination to prevent future violations. 
He suggested MOD agree in writing to the following actions: 
1) Conduct an internal analysis of the eight potential 
violations to be shared with the OMC, 2) Commit to an end-use 
training plan, and 3) Identify one senior official as a point 
of contact for end-use issues.  PDAS Countryman understood 
MOD's reluctance to sign a document during the meeting, but 
promised to provide a text for the MOD's review.  Al-Assar 
agreed to review the text for accuracy, but did not commit to 
signing any document. 
 
11.  (C) Subsequent to the meeting, al-Assar reviewed the 
proposed text, but declined to sign the document.  He 
verbally concurred that the MOD would continue OMC-provided 
end-use training, create a new MOD-administered periodic 
training course, name a high-level official (MG Abdul Halim) 
 
to be a point of contact on end-use issues, and add end-use 
issues to the agenda for the annual Military Cooperation 
Committee meetings.  He declined to conduct an internal 
analysis on the end-use violations. 
 
------------------- 
Mil-Mil Cooperation 
------------------- 
 
12.  (C)  At the conclusion of the end-use monitoring portion 
of the meeting, al-Assar raised several issues related to 
bilateral military cooperation.  He urged the U.S. not to 
allow a third-party (Israel) to delay the political release 
of advanced weapons systems to Egypt.  Al-Assar had "high 
hopes" that the new U.S. Administration would be more 
supportive of releasing weapons systems to Egypt.  (Note: 
Egypt has long requested the release of certain weapons 
systems, like the TOW 2B, LONGBOW, and JAVELIN.  Egypt is 
prevented from acquiring some systems because of Minister of 
Defense Tantawi's refusal to sign the necessary security 
agreement (CISMOA).  The GoE also believes that concerns over 
Israel's Qualitative Military Edge have prevented weapons 
systems from being released to Egypt.  End Note). 
 
13.  (C) Al-Assar also emphasized the importance of 
maintaining the 2:3 ratio for FMF provided to Egypt and 
Israel established after the Camp David Peace accord, in 
order to sustain the "regional balance."  He noted that over 
the last 10 years, Israel's FMF level has grown 
substantially, while Egypt's annual FMF level has remained at 
$1.3 billion. The modernization of the Egyptian military was 
critical to Egypt's ability to defend its territory, he 
continued, stressing that "we want to proceed with our 
modernization plan with the United States."  Any delay in the 
political release of weapons systems and Congressional 
conditioning of bilateral assistance was "not good" for the 
modernization plan. 
 
14.  (C) PDAS Countryman repeated that the U.S. appreciates 
the strategic importance of Egypt.  While US political 
constraints on weapons sales are a real factor, they had not, 
he believed, prevented Egypt from building a military 
adequate to its regional responsibilities.  He noted that 
Egypt could best help itself with the Administration and with 
Congress by insuring the proper protection of U.S. technology 
and equipment, and by continuing its efforts to interdict 
Iranian shipment of weapons bound for Hamas and Hizballah. 
 
 
15.  (U) PDAS Countryman cleared this cable. 
SCOBEY