Oct 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2603.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2603
2007-08-02 06:22
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002603

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STATE FOR D AND EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2027
TAGS: ASEAN MY
SUBJECT: THE DEPUTY SECRETARY’S BILATERAL MEETING WITH MALAYSIA FM DATO’ SERI SYED HAMNID ALBAR

Classified By: Deputy Secretary Negroponte, reasons 1.4 c, d

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato’ Seri Syed
Hanmid Albar said that Malaysia will most likely send
peacekeeping troops to Darfur, during an August 1 meeting on
the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) with Deputy
Secretary Negroponte. GOM also is committed to change in

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Burma and has called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.
END SUMMARY.

DARFUR
——

¶2. (C) FM Albar said he stressed to his Prime Minister the
importance of participation in UN/AU hybrid peacekeeping
forces in Darfur. Albar noted that the Prime Minister needs
to review the report from the newly appointed Malaysian
Special Envoy to Darfur’s recent trip before committing
troops. However, Albar stated that he expects a “positive”
response.

¶3. (C) The Deputy Secretary said that the United States had
insisted that the Darfur peacekeeping force have a unified
chain of command that conformed to UN standards and
practices. Albar echoed this sentiment. He understands that
the Africans need to feel involved in conflict resolution and
peacekeeping. Unfortunately, they do not have the logistical
or financial capabilities to support the mission. The Deputy
Secretary mentioned that he recently traveled to Darfur. He

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was told then by the African Union that they cannot handle it
alone and troop sending countries such as Rwanda requested UN
help. Albar noted that he went to Darfur two months ago. He
said that if the peacekeeping mission falls under the African
Union, “Malaysia cannot be involved,” but if it is a UN
effort, “Most probably we will take part.”

BURMA
—–

¶4. (C) When queried about the situation in Burma, Albar
replied that “Myanmar is a very interesting place.” Malaysia
does not believe isolating Burma is a good approach. Albar
sees a slow change towards opening up. Malaysia consulted
with the other three CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos and
Vietnam), all of which are confident of change in Burma. The
National Reconciliation Council was called on July 18th.
Burma hopes to complete the constitution, send it to
referendum and hold elections. Albar believes that people in
uniforms will contest the elections but there will be
elections, and that will be a good start.

¶5. (C) Albar observed that previously ASEAN was reluctant
to talk about Burma, but now ASEAN is fairly open. ASEAN
managed to convince Burma to include a human rights body in
ASEAN’s draft charter. Additionally, Albar had a discussion
about developing a Human Rights office at the national level
in Burma. Albar noted that he never imagined that ASEAN
would be able to come up with a charter that all ASEAN,
including Burma, could support.

¶6. (C) Another example of progress was UN Under Secretary
General Gambiri’s meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi. ASEAN was
not granted access, because the Burmese government is worried
that it accords her the status of a national leader.
Malaysia has made it clear in a meeting with the Burmese
Foreign Minister that they support the release of Aung San
Suu Kyi.

BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP
———————-

¶7. (C) Albar said “the bilateral relationship is better
than before” particularly on the political front and Malaysia
is “generally very happy”. The Deputy Secretary remarked
that Malaysia is the U.S.’s 10th-largest trading partner.
Albar agreed that the trade relationship was excellent but
“the only thing not much improved yet is your tourists.” He
said Malaysia has over 15 million tourists from Thailand,
India, Europe and the Middle East. However, more American
tourists go to Thailand. This year is “Visit Malaysia Year”

MANILA 00002603 002 OF 002

and they had “hoped for more tourists”. The Deputy Secretary
asked if there were inhibiting factors such as air access
affecting the numbers of American tourists. Albar said that
American airlines do not have direct flights to Kuala Lampur,
only Singapore and Thailand. Malaysian airlines have two
routes to the United States, Kuala Lampur-Stockholm-New York
and Kuala Lampur-Taipei-Los Angeles. Albar said they “hope
to get American airlines in Malaysia” and said “we have
differences sometimes but not something to impede business.”

EDUCATION
———

¶8. (U) Albar highlighted the 9,000 Malaysian students in
the United States. Though there were some difficulties after
9/11, levels are now up to previous levels. The Malaysians
are particularly proud of their partner program with Ohio,
which was one of the first sponsored by Malaysia. The
Malaysians have upgraded their partner institute and have
shifted focus of study abroad from undergraduate to
postgraduate degrees. Malaysian students still prefer
attending PhD programs in the United States. Currently,
Malaysia has campuses from Australian and British
universities. Malaysian students spend two years at the
local campus and study abroad for the third year. Malaysia
hopes to create a similar program with the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology.

¶9. (U) August 1, 2007; 16:10-16:40; Manila, Philippines

¶10. (U) Meeting Participants:

U.S.

Deputy Secretary John Negroponte
Kaye Lee, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary
Ted Wittenstein, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary
Colleen Kelly, EAP/RSP
Ellen Colleran, Embassy Notetaker

Malaysia

Foreign Minister Dato’ seri Syed Hanmid Albar
Ambassdor Ahmad Rasidi
Mustapha Merican, Special Officer to the Foreign Minister
In Tan Dollah, Political Officer
Embassy Notetaker
KENNEY

   

 

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