Viewing cable 05MUSCAT1374
Title: POOR TIMING OF OMANI VISIT TO SYRIA

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT13742005-09-11 14:17:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Muscat
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 MUSCAT 001374 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR NEA, NEA/ARPI, AND NEA/ELA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/11/2015 
TAGS: PREL ECON SY MU
SUBJECT: POOR TIMING OF OMANI VISIT TO SYRIA 
 
REF: A. STATE 159137 
 
     ¶B. MUSCAT 1361 
     ¶C. MUSCAT 1345 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III. 
Reason: 1.4 (b, d). 
 
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Summary 
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¶1. (C) The Foreign Ministry has acknowledged Omani press 
reports that National Economy Minister Macki is traveling to 
Damascus for a 3-day session of the Oman-Syria Joint 
Commission, commencing on September 12.  While the previously 
planned visit will seal investment and double-taxation 
agreements and discuss other economic issues, a photo op with 
the Syrian president is also possible.  The Embassy 
reiterated to the MFA our recent demarche encouraging the 
diplomatic isolation of the Syrian government, and voiced 
concern that high-visibility meetings in Damascus might send 
unintended political signals.  End summary. 
 
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The Meeting They Forgot to Mention 
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¶2. (C) As reported in refs B and C, the Embassy delivered ref 
A demarche encouraging international isolation of Syria to 
MFA's International Organizations and Arab Affairs 
Departments, to which the Ministry replied that it did not 
envision having high-level talks with the Syrians either at 
the recent Arab League ministerial in Cairo or during the 
upcoming UN Summit in New York. 
 
¶3. (U) The Omani press nevertheless reported this week that 
Omani National Economy Minister Ahmed Macki is leading an 
economic delegation to Damascus for a 3-day session of the 
Oman-Syria Joint Commission, beginning on September 12. 
According to the Oman News Agency, the session will produce 
bilateral agreements on the protection of mutual investment 
and the avoidance of double taxation, and potential 
agreements on land and sea transportation.  Discussions will 
also cover the fields of tourism, finance, agriculture, 
communications, science and culture.  Economy and Trade 
Minister Dr. Amir Husni Lutfi will head the Syrian side.  The 
editorial in the September 11 edition of the government-owned 
Arabic daily "Oman" hailed the Joint Commission's work in 
improving bilateral relations and "overall cooperation 
between Arab countries." 
 
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Voicing Concern 
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¶4. (C) Given the unfortunate timing of Minister Macki's visit 
to Syria, P/E Chief sought clarification from MFA Arab 
Affairs Deputy Chief Salim al-Rawahi.  Rawahi indicated that 
the Joint Commission session had been planned for some time, 
as it requires Cabinet of Ministers approval.  The only MFA 
official accompanying Macki is a mid-level staffer from the 
Economic Department.  Rawahi was not familiar with the 
precise agenda of the session, but thought it possible that 
the Syrian President might take advantage of the opportunity 
to receive Macki during the visit.  P/E Chief observed that, 
despite Oman's policy disagreements with Syria (ref C), 
observers might misconstrue a Bashar-Macki photo as 
indicating Omani support for Syria.  Rawahi acknowledged this 
concern and undertook to raise it with MFA Arab Affairs Chief 
Ambassador Ahmed al-Harthy, who had just returned to Muscat 
with FM Yusuf bin Alawi. 
BALTIMORE