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Cablegate: Practical Federalism Seminar Brings Together Kurdistan

VZCZCXRO8208
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2418/01 2011241
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201241Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2359
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002418

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV IZ

SUBJECT: Practical Federalism Seminar Brings Together Kurdistan
National Assembly and GOI Council of Representatives Members

This is a Kurdistan Regional Reconstruction Team (RRT) cable.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: A July 10-13 "Practical Federalism in Iraq"
seminar held in Erbil was the first such event attended by members
of both the Kurdistan National Assembly (KNA) and the Iraqi Council
of Representatives (CoR). Discussion was focused on the Oil Law,
Article 140, and regional formation. The meetings were cordial and
discussion was predictable. Participants noted that the Iraqi
Foreign Investment Law for oil was investor unfriendly, while KRG
attendees asserted that there could be no further review of Article
140. GOI Constitutional Review Committee members called for the CoR
to enact proposed constitutional amendments without submittal to a
public referendum. The conference closed with the issuance of
"Protocol of Cooperation" between the two assemblies and a 13-point
set of recommendations that endorsed the federal approach to
governance and called on further efforts to implement Article 140.
END SUMMARY.

2. (U) A seminar on "Practical Federalism" in Iraq" was held in
Erbil from July 10-13, attended by KNA and CoR members, GOI and KRG
officials, and academics and other specialists. The organizers were
two NGOs, the "International Alliance for Justice, headed by former
GOI Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin, and "No Peace Without
Justice," headed by Niccolo Figa-Talamanca, a war crimes
investigator in Bosnia. A KRG official told us that 45 GOI CoR
members had been invited.

THE MEETING NOT A JOINT KNA/CoR SESSION

3. (SBU) Invitations to the seminar had made a passing reference to
a joint session of the KNA and CoR, and some newspapers covering the
event, and, reportedly, even some attendees, appeared to believe
that it was a joint parliamentary session. An RRT observer noted,
however, that when an attendee tried to raise a point of order with
the moderator (Adnan Mufti, the KNA chairman) during a discussion
session, he was told that this was not a parliamentary meeting and
that parliamentary rules therefore did not apply.

SEMINAR TOPICS

4. (U) The topics covered included: The GOI Constitution and
federalism, including discussion of proposed amendments; Regional
Formation, including Article 140; and, Natural Resources, Revenue
Collection and Public Spending.

COR CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE EXPRESS CONCERNS

5. (SBU) The members of the Iraqi CoR Constitutional Review
Committee opened with a report indicating they have drafted 54
proposed amendments to the Constitution. They are unhappy with the
timeline imposed on them through Article 42, saying it is too short,
and also do not believe that a national referendum on these
amendments is required. They state that since the Iraqi people have
approved the original Constitution, the power to amend should reside
in the Parliament.

ARTICLE 140 BECOMES FOCUS OF DISCUSSION

6. (SBU) The Constitutional and the Regional Formation sessions
quickly broke down into a discussion focused mostly on Article 140,
according to RRT staff members. Several prominent KRG leaders gave
standard presentations on the history of Kirkuk, its demographics,
the impact of the Arabization program, and the province's
involvement in earlier Kurdish-Baath negotiations and agreements
dating back to 1970. The KRG attendees were especially assertive
about the need to define the KRG's boundaries as they relate to
Kirkuk, although they also claimed that the status of the KRG and of
the Article 140 implementation process was not a matter for further
review. KRG attendees noted that they were willing to discuss
amendments about regional formation for any location outside of the
KRG.

OIL SECTOR AND PROBLEMMATIC GOI FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAW

6. (U) The natural resources sessions reportedly focused on oil:
i.e., the division of oil-generated revenues and how to encourage
foreign investment to develop the oil sector. Various international
models were discussed, including Iran, UAE, Canada and the United
States. The issue of the current Iraqi oil sector foreign investment
law was also raised, with agreement that the law is vague and not
foreign investor friendly.

SURPRISE CANCELLATION OF CONFERENCE'S LAST TWO DAYS

7. (SBU) The Wednesday sessions were plagued by snafus, including a
series of power failures that halted discussion for several extended
periods. As a result, the Article 140 session continued into
Thursday, and Thursday's two planned sessions, one on the Justice
system and the other on "Education, Culture, Language and Religion,"

BAGHDAD 00002418 002 OF 002


were cancelled. For unknown reasons, the Saturday and Sunday (July
14 and July 15) sessions of the conference, which were to include
"Reports from the Rapporteurs" and "Discussion of Seminar Outcome
Document," were also cancelled and the seminar ended on Friday
morning with a joint press conference between KNA and CoR leaders.


8. (SBUP) After the close of the conference, the organizers issued
a 13-point set of recommendations that included endorsement of the
development of a uniquely Iraqi form of federalism (i.e., rejecting
copying of foreign models), equitable sharing of natural resource
wealth, and a commitment to completion of Article 140
implementation. The conference also produced a formal "protocol of
cooperation" between the Kurdistan National Assembly and the GOI
Council of Representatives (CoR) that called for joint meetings,
coordination of draft laws to avoid conflicting provisions, and the
establishment of offices in Baghdad and Erbil to carry out these
cooperative activities.


9. (SBU) COMMENT: The sessions reportedly were cordial throughout,
with little or no contentious debate. The sudden cancellation of
seminar's last two days seems unusual, and we are seeking further
information on this decision. The recommendations and joint
cooperation protocol were generally non-controversial and seemed to
be consensus products.

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