US embassy cable - 02AMMAN2251

PROPOSED MIDDLE EAST CONFERENCE GREETED WITH SKEPTICISM

Identifier: 02AMMAN2251
Wikileaks: View 02AMMAN2251 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 2002-05-07 14:48:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL KPAL IS JO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
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 AMMAN 002251 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/06/2012 
TAGS: PREL, KPAL, IS, JO 
SUBJECT: PROPOSED MIDDLE EAST CONFERENCE GREETED WITH 
SKEPTICISM 
 
Classified By: CDA GREGORY L. BERRY FOR REASON 1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 
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SUMMARY 
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1. (C) A survey of political contacts suggests a general lack 
of enthusiasm over the recent Quartet proposal to stage a 
Middle East conference in the next few weeks.  The GOJ has 
endorsed the proposal with some caveats.  While several 
contacts condemned outright the idea of a conference, a few 
made tentative suggestions about its content.  Most contacts 
questioned the need for such a conference when there are a 
number of previously agreed upon measures that have not been 
implemented.  Most contacts were also deeply skeptical about 
Israeli intentions if such a conference takes place.  End 
Summary. 
 
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GOJ ENDORSES CONFERENCE PROPOSAL 
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2. (C) The GOJ has publicly reacted positively to the idea of 
a conference, focusing on its content and its participants. 
King Abdullah issued a public statement from Washington 
saying that the conference should be based on relevant 
international resolutions, President Bush's speech to the UN, 
and the Saudi initiative.  King Abdullah also stressed that 
all parties should participate in the conference.  Privately, 
however, GOJ contacts have a number of questions about the 
concept.    Foreign Minister Muasher's personal assistant Ali 
al-Ayed, told PolCouns that it is the substance of a 
conference and its necessary outcome--creation of a 
Palestinian state--that would likely govern the level of the 
GOJ's support.  Jordan, he said, would hope any conference 
would not be "just another forum for expressing views," but 
rather geared to concrete political accomplishments. 
 
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JORDANIANS SUSPICIOUS OF CONFERENCE'S PURPOSE 
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3. (C)  Outside the government, some Jordanians welcomed the 
call for a conference with qualifications.  However, all were 
concerned that the real purpose of the conference was to 
change the rules of the peace process and annul Oslo, 
Mitchell, and Tenet.  East Banker and former Minister Nasir 
Lawzi endorsed the conference if the purpose was to find a 
way to implement Mitchell and Tenet.  He urged the U.S. to 
include Syria and Lebanon in the conference, so the entire 
region would be onboard.  He also cautioned that no such 
conference could be held without Arafat, a condition echoed 
by many contacts.  Former Royal Court advisor Adnan Abu Odeh 
favored the concept of a conference if it had the moral 
authority to implement any results, but also thought the 
conference would find little popular support in Jordan. 
 
4. (C) Among less moderate Jordanians, the conference was 
roundly criticized.  One PolFSN contact reinforced the 
widely-felt distrust of Israeli intentions towards peace 
negotiations, "Israel has its own agenda--if it really wanted 
peace, why did it not agree to the Saudi plan?"  The same 
source accused Israel of asking for this conference as a way 
to delay and drag out the issues.  Faleh Taweel, former 
Jordanian Ambassador to Iraq and an advocate of most 
anti-Israeli conspiracy theories, said that "if the 
conference is going to be based on the Saudi initiative, it 
will be accepted."  Press coverage in Jordan was both 
suspicious and skeptical of the conference, and more moderate 
Palestinians appeared frustrated with the idea.  "Why not 
implement what we've already decided on?"  One press contact 
viewed the conference as likely to be  insignificant if it is 
held below the summit level.  Almost all contacts agree that 
Arafat, Syria, and Lebanon must be involved if the conference 
is to have any legitimacy. 
 
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COMMENT 
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5. (C) While the GOJ endorses the idea of a conference, many 
Jordanians view the proposal as ineffective--or worse, as a 
U.S.-backed Israeli plan to dismantle previous agreements and 
to deflect popular anger.  Our argument that a political 
process is one necessary part of any progress is greeted with 
deep skepticism.  The Jordanians' comments reflect a growing 
level of frustration with the drawn-out nature of the 
political process, seen here as having gained little for 
Palestinians over the past 9 years. 
 
BERRY 

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