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Reference ID Subject Created Released Classification Origin
08MADRID1132 NEA A/S WELCH MEETINGS WITH SPANISH OFFICIALS 2008-10-31 2011-02-02 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
08TRIPOLI764 SCENESETTER FOR THE VISIT OF SE WILLIAMSON TO LIBYA 2008-10-02 2011-02-01 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tripoli
08TRIPOLI803 U.S. FOREIGN COMMERCIAL SERVICE OPENS FOR BUSINESS IN LIBYA 1. (SBU) Summary: During his October 5 visit to Tripoli, Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service Israel Hernandez officially opened the new Foreign Commercial Service office at the Embassy and discussed commercial opportunities with U.S. and Libyan business leaders and cooperation with senior Libyan government officials. Coming one month after Secretary Rice's historic trip to Libya, Libyan government representatives enthusiastically welcomed him, as did the small but growing Libyan private sector and representatives of U.S. firms in the energy, telecommunications, and construction sectors. The main messages to him were that there are significant commercial opportunities for American firms in Libya, but challenges still remain in terms of visas, and legal and bureaucratic obstacles. End summary. 2. (SBU) In a breakfast roundtable, the leaders of the major U.S. firms in Libya briefed A/S Hernandez on their activities here and described some of the challenges they face, such as procuring visas (both U.S. and Libyan) for employees and Libyan government trainees, and navigating the Libyan legal system. Most of the U.S. companies are involved in oil exploration, production and services, while others have contracts in the burgeoning construction sector (such as AECOM, based in Los Angeles). Some U.S. firms, such as Motorola, are seeking to enter the Libyan telecommunications sector. All the participants voiced complaints about visas, either for their U.S. staff (and their families) to reside in Libya or for their national staff and government partners to travel to the U.S. for training. Some said they believe the Libyan government is delaying the issuance of U.S. employees' visas because Libyans must still travel abroad (i.e., to Tunis) in order to apply for a U.S. visa. The Charge d'affaires pointed out there is a Business Visa program at post to facilitate visas for U.S. companies' Libyan employees and also informed the group the Embassy expects to expand visa issuance in Tripoli in 2009. 3. (SBU) Another concern of the U.S. businesses relates to the Libyan legal system. One general manager noted "nothing is written, so all is interpretation." He remarked that he believes Libya is even more litigious than the U.S. and since there are no international law firms and no internationally-trained lawyers, the companies have to rely on local legal counsel. As Libya has been isolated for 20 years, even legal firms based in the Middle East (such as in Dubai) have limited utility in Libya since they lack experience here. On the positive side, U.S. businesses have not had major problems importing materials for their operations, especially since most activities are tied to Libyan government entities, such as the National Oil Company (NOC). 4. (SBU) A/S Hernandez also met with the Libyan Businessmen Council, the main organization of Libya's nascent private sector. The Council welcomed the opening of an Embassy Commercial Office because they would like to do business with small- and medium-sized U.S. companies. Most of the American delegations they have seen were from large companies that dealt mainly with the Libyan government. Most of the Council's members, however, are smaller Libyan enterprises. One of the Libyan representatives for a major U.S. equipment provider noted the Libyan market is highly competitive and many European companies (French, German, Italians) never left Libya during the embargo years. It is therefore even more difficult for U.S. companies to enter or re-enter this market, he said. He did not foresee a "u-turn" on the part of the Libyans to nationalize the economy, as in the past, but he did see a need for a more aggressive U.S. approach to help U.S. businesses and to promote the education of Libyans in American universities, especially in medicine and technology. 5. (SBU) The next stop was the Libyan government's National Planning Council in which Under Secretary Mohamed Zidoun and his staff briefed A/S Hernandez on Libya's efforts to diversify its economy and to privatize government enterprises. The Assistant Secretary outlined the purpose of his trip to Libya, i.e. to open the new U.S. FCS office here, noting that Libya was one of the fastest growing markets for U.S. trade. He said the US already had a significant trade deficit with Libya (USD 2.9 billion) so the new FCS office would seek to increase U.S. exports to the Libyan market. Under Secretary Zidoun explained TRIPOLI 00000803 002 OF 002 the role of the National Planning Council as a Libyan "think tank" that prepares studies related to economic, commercial and trade policy. The proposed government restructuring aimed to provide better services to the population and to further development in education, technology, and healthcare. U/S Zidoun's staff would like to see Libya adopt U.S. models for an educational curriculum. Libya is also trying to diversify its "mono-source" economy so as to raise the standard of living. Libya sees itself as a potential transport hub (like Dubai) and in particular, seeks to be the "gateway" to the rest of Africa. Libya also wants to learn from the Gulf countries' experiences: "It is not enough to construct sky-scrapers but one must also train people to run the companies that occupy them." 6. (SBU) On privatization, the Planning Council emphasized "expanding the base of ownership." The Council has conducted studies on how to provide services to Libyans everywhere in the country via the municipalities (akin to counties in the U.S.). The goal is to provide wealth directly to citizens who may spend the money as they like. The Council's staff noted Libya has a relatively small population concentrated along the Mediterranean coast. Therefore, they think reforms are possible so that government will provide only the "basics." One Council member commented, "we cannot go back; we have suffered a lot and we are facing hard moments" in terms of "rebuilding our country" and engaging with the world. He said to A/S Hernandez, "we need your help in education and training" in order to rebuild Libya. 7. (SBU) Lastly, A/S Hernandez met with the Under Secretary of the General People's Committee (GPC) for Economy, Trade and Investment. Under Secretary Taher Sarkez and his staff explained the GPC's role in negotiating international trade agreements (such as the ongoing Trade and Investment Framework talks with USTR) and in promoting Libyan exports. A/S Hernandez extended an invitation to Under Secretary Sarkez to visit Commerce Department offices in the U.S. to learn about programs to assist small- and medium-sized businesses. Under Secretary Sarkez welcomed this opportunity. A/S Hernandez said the new FCS office would also work with Libyan businesses who were interested in participating in American trade shows and other networking opportunities in the U.S. U/S Sarkez noted the need to host more U.S. business groups in Libya and said Libya would probably need to issue more visas to Americans. Finally, U/S Sarkez' staff described an initiative of the GPC to promote Libyan exports other than oil and gas, such as agricultural and fisheries products, via the newly-created Libyan Export Promotion Center. 8. (SBU) Comment: A/S Hernandez' trip to Libya is the first high-level delegation here since Secretary Rice visited Libya just a month ago. He was enthusiastically welcomed by Libyan government representatives, the small but growing Libyan private sector, and representatives of U.S. firms. The main messages to him were that Libya is open to American companies and future educational/technological exchanges but that challenges still remain in forging the new relationship in terms of visas, legal and bureaucratic obstacles and re-establishing new ties with Libyans after a 25-year absence from the market. End comment. STEVENS 2008-10-08 2011-02-01 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tripoli
08TRIPOLI819 SELF-DESCRIBED REGIME CRITIC IDRISS BOUFAYED RELEASED 2008-10-14 2011-02-01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
08STATE109845 MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME (MTCR): "BROKERING CONTROLS IN THE UNITED STATES ON DUAL-USE ITEMS" Classified By: ISN/MTR DIRECTOR PAM DURHAM FOR REASONS 1.4 (B), (D), AND (H). 2008-10-14 2011-02-01 CONFIDENTIAL Secretary of State
08TRIPOLI827 2008-10-17 2011-02-01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
08TRIPOLI829 AL-QADHAFI: TO RUSSIA, WITH LOVE? 2008-10-17 2011-02-01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
08TRIPOLI833 COLONEL AL-QADHAFI'S SUMMER READING LIST 2008-10-20 2011-02-01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
08LONDON2673 PAN AM 103 BOMBER HAS INCURABLE CANCER; LIBYANS 2008-10-24 2011-02-01 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy London
08TRIPOLI851 LIBYAN-SWISS CONTRETEMPS DRAGS ON 2008-10-27 2011-02-01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
08TRIPOLI856 LIBYA'S CENTRAL BANK CONTINUES FINANCIAL SECTOR MODERNIZATION EFFORTS REF: A) TRIPOLI 827 , B) TRIPOLI 842 1. (SBU) Summary: Libya's Central Bank Governor briefed a visiting U.S. trade expert and Emboffs on efforts by the Government of Libya (GOL) to modernize the financial sector, in part to attract greater foreign direct investment in non hydrocarbon sectors. Libya is working with international organizations to improve financial sector transparency, plans to bring international credit rating agencies to Libya to assess Libyan financial instruments and its fledgling stock market, and is working to improve basic banking supervision and operations. Libya plans to sell Certificates of Deposit (CD's) to banks and eventually directly to the public, and is in the process of training banking officials in loan risk assessment as part of an effort to broaden lending to small and medium sized enterprises (SME's). End summary. 2. (SBU) On October 13, Public Affairs-sponsored speaker Bruce Stokes, a trade and economic specialist with the National Journal, met with Libyan Central Bank (CB) Governor Farhat Omar Bengadara. Stokes was accompanied by the CDA, PAO, Econoff and PA Assistant. Bengadara discussed, inter alia, a financial sector reform program that comprises encouraging financial market operations - including modernizing Libya's stock market and selling CD's to banks and the general public - and modernizing Libya's banking practices and the CB itself. (Note: See reftels for details on Libya's response to the global financial crisis and Bengadara's views on Muammar al-Qadhafi's proposals for government restructuring and privatization. End note.) 3. (U) Stressing the negative impact of sanctions-era isolation on Libya's banking sector and the need for technical banking assistance, Bengadara said the CB is also working actively with the World Bank, IMF and McKinsey (with whom it has a consulting contract) to improve Libya's banking and financial sector. The overarching goal is to help create a better functioning, more transparent financial sector to make Libya a more attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI). Noting that there was plenty of interest in oil and gas exploration and production, which benefitted from well-organized investment under the auspices of the National Oil Corporation's Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement scheme, Bengadara stressed that the CB's efforts were targeted at securing FDI in non-hydrocarbon sectors such as agriculture and tourism. There was also room for more FDI in downstream hydrocarbon industries such as petrochemical production and refining (Libya imports most of its gasoline from Italian refineries). Echoing a line we've heard from other senior GOL officials, he said Libya - with its strategic location, long shoreline and multiple port facilities - wanted to become a regional center for travel, banking and investment akin to Dubai. 4. (U) As part of the program to sell CD's, the CB is working to facilitate visits by rating agencies Moody's and Standard and Poor in an effort to secure credible ratings of GOL financial instruments and as assessment of the fledgling stock market. The CB is also interested in improving greater overall transparency in the Libyan economy; Bengadara and his team have been involved in ongoing discussions with international groups working on this issue. Specific areas of discussion included infrastructure development, tax reform and streamlining visa issuances for foreign businesspeople. 5. (SBU) Bengadara said the CB is also focused in efforts to improve basic banking supervision and operations. The CB has two external advisors who oversee a credit risk initiative to train banking officials in analyzing loan applications from small- and medium-sized enterprises, although the retail banking sector is still very limited. In broader terms, Libya views itself as being more akin to Saudi Arabia than the UAE, in the sense that the UAE has fewer oil and gas resources and therefore depends to a greater degree on FDI. Like Saudi Arabia, Libya's considerable hydrocarbon resources afford it more cushion and make it less dependent on FDI; however, Bengadara is trying to encourage GOL officials to take a longer-term view of FDI as a means by which to help diversify Libya's oil-dependent economy. STEVENS 2008-10-30 2011-02-01 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Tripoli
08PARAMARIBO436 PRESIDENT VENETIAAN'S STATE OF THE REPUBLIC -- OLD AND NEW 2008-10-15 2011-01-31 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Paramaribo
08PORTAUPRINCE1381 WHY WE NEED CONTINUING MINUSTAH PRESENCE IN HAITI 2008-10-01 2011-01-28 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Port Au Prince
08SAOPAULO542 LEVERAGING LEBANON,S DIASPORA FOR DEMOCRACY/DEEPENING LOCAL CONTACTS 2008-10-09 2011-01-28 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Sao Paulo
08HAVANA811 PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE: THOUGHTS ON THE CATHOLIC 2008-10-15 2011-01-22 CONFIDENTIAL US Interests Section Havana
08REYKJAVIK217 ICELANDIC GOVT TO RUN FIRST DEFICIT IN FIVE YEARS, KRONA 2008-10-03 2011-01-13 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Reykjavik
08SECTION01GF02BISHIEK21 Libel S5iT3 Chill Fre% Sp%ech in KyR%yzStan 2008-10-06 2011-01-13 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Bishkek
08REYKJAVIK219 ICELANDIC GOVT TAKES CONTROL OF BANKING SECTOR AMID CRISIS 2008-10-07 2011-01-13 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK221 ICELANDIC FINANCIAL CRISIS: AS EMERGENCY POWERS GO INTO 2008-10-07 2011-01-13 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK223 ICELANDIC CENTRAL BANK ASSERTS RUSSIAN LOAN IS 95 PERCENT 2008-10-08 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK224 ICELANDIC CENTRAL BANK ASSERTS RUSSIAN LOAN IS 95 PERCENT 2008-10-08 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK225 ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS, TIME FOR USG TO GET INVOLVED? 2008-10-08 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08MOSCOW3010 ICELAND EMBASSY: RUSSIAN LOAN "STRICTLY 2008-10-09 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow
08REYKJAVIK227 ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS: THIRD BANK GOES DOWN AS MASS 2008-10-09 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK228 ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS: BANKERS ARGUE GOI NEEDS TO 2008-10-10 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK240 Foreign Minister Expected to Ask the Secretary for 2008-10-20 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK242 ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS: RUSSIAN LOAN STILL ON TABLE, IMF 2008-10-20 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK246 ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS: GOI - UK NEGOTIATIONS ON ICESAVE 2008-10-23 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08STATE114173 NORDIC AND BALTIC POLITICAL DIRECTORS, OCTOBER 2 2008-10-27 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Secretary of State
08REYKJAVIK251 ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS: GOI REACHES AGREEMENT ON IMF 2008-10-27 2011-01-13 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK252 ICELANDIC ECONOMIC CRISIS: GOI OFFICIALS CAUTIOUSLY 2008-10-28 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK253 ICELANDIC CENTRAL BANK ASKED NY FED FOR ONE BILLION USD LOAN 2008-10-29 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK254 ICELAND: NATO ACCESSION OF ALBANIA AND CROATIA 2008-10-30 2011-01-13 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Reykjavik
08REYKJAVIK255 ICELAND'S REQUEST FOR A LOAN: WHAT'S IN IT FOR US 2008-10-31 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
08BRASILIA1312 WHA TARGETED REQUESTS FOR AFGHAN NATIONAL ARMY 2008-10-03 2011-01-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Brasilia
08BRASILIA1325 BRAZIL: SCENESETTER FOR CEO FORUM - OCT 9/10 - SECRETARY GUITERREZ AND AP PRICE 2008-10-07 2011-01-12 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Brasilia
08BEIJING3899 China's SAFE Cautious about U.S. Lending 2008-10-14 2010-12-26 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Beijing
08MEXICO3178 MEXICO REBUILDING TIES TO VENEZUELA, SLOWLY 2008-10-27 2010-12-18 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Mexico
08PANAMA820 CANAL BIDDING PROCESS DELAYED AGAIN 2008-10-24 2010-12-18 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Panama
08BAKU947 AZERBAIJAN SEEKS TO DEVELOP ACG DEEP GAS, CAN 2008-10-08 2010-12-15 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baku
08BANGKOK2977 AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES WITH FORMER PM SAMAK HIS 2008-10-01 2010-12-14 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bangkok
08STOCKHOLM722 2008-10-29 2010-12-14 SECRET Embassy Stockholm
08LIMA1732 NEA A/S WELCH MEETINGS WITH SPANISH OFFICIALS 2008-10-31 2010-12-14 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Lima
08DUBLIN556 THE BANK GUARANTEE: AN IRISH SOLUTION TO AN IRISH 2008-10-09 2010-12-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Dublin
08ASHGABAT1399 EXPAT SOURCES SAY THAT ITERA GAVE TURKMENISTAN A 2008-10-23 2010-12-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ashgabat
08LISBON2629 S/NF) PORTUGAL: "WE KNOW CHAVEZ IS A CRAZY MAN 2008-10-07 2010-12-12 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Lisbon
08BELGRADE1097 SERBIA: PROSPECTS FOR COMPLETION OF ICTY 2008-10-22 2010-12-10 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Belgrade
08CARACAS1390 VENEZUELA: AMERICAN AIRLINES CREW DETAINED AT 2008-10-01 2010-12-10 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Caracas
08NAIROBI2290 WHITHER M/V FAINA'S TANKS? 2008-10-02 2010-12-09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Nairobi
08STATE107438 DEMARCHE REQUEST: REPLACEMENT OF SRSG GAMBARI FOR 2008-10-07 2010-12-09 CONFIDENTIAL Secretary of State
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