C O N F I D E N T I A L MUSCAT 000364
STATE FOR NEA, NEA/ARPI
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH; PARIS FOR ZEYA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/02/2015
TAGS: PREL SY LE EG MU
SUBJECT: OMAN PRESSURES SARG ON LEBANON WITHDRAWAL
Classified By: Ambassador Richard L. Baltimore III.
Reason: 1.4 (b, d).
Â¶1. (C) Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin
Alawi convoked the Ambassador on February 28, just prior to
departing for the March 1 London Conference on Palestine, to
recount the steps he had taken to encourage Syrian withdrawal
from Lebanon. He said that Egypt had sought his help to send
a strong signal to Damascus. As a result, the Minister
drafted a note to Syrian FM Shara'a (followed-up with a phone
call) in which he:
-- urged Syria's withdrawal from Lebanese territory;
-- suggested that the SARG cease sending mixed signals on its
intentions (noting conflicting statements from the Ministries
of Defense and Foreign Affairs) by convening all the
Ambassadors resident in Damascus making Syrian policy in
Lebanon clear, and
-- recommended that Shara'a ask to be invited to the London
Conference if they were not already included.
Â¶2. (C) Bin Alawi said Shara'a responded that he would be
willing to attend the London Conference in person, but
apparently his decision came too late for an invitation to be
issued. Bin Alawi was nevertheless buoyant that the SARG
seemed to be taking a constructive and positive approach in
response to Oman's suggestions.
Â¶3. (C) Comment: Bin Alawi's actions are very Omani in that he
prefers to act behind the scenes and quietly. While Oman is
not known to have particularly close ties to Syria, its
relationship with Egypt is strong, buttressed by the warm
personal relations between the Sultan and President Mubarak.