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Cablegate: Latest On Un Presence in Iraq

VZCZCXRO8848
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUCNDT #1036 3202046
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 162046Z NOV 07
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3130
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 001036

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: LATEST ON UN PRESENCE IN IRAQ

1. (SBU) Summary: During a bi-weekly discussion with the UN
and UK on Iraq-related matters, the UN confirmed that newly
appointed Special Representative Staffan de Mistura has
arrived in Baghdad, and had an introductory call on Foreign
Minister Zebari, in which Zebari focused on the UN,s role in
national reconciliation, national dialogue, capacity building
and internal boundaries (especially Kirkuk). The UN also
reported that the Iraqi electoral commission has made strides
to de-politicize nominations. End summary.

POLICY ISSUES

2. (SBU) As of November 15, the UN reported a total of 73
international staff in Baghdad and 26 international staff in
Irbil. Darko Mocibob, the UN,s Iraq team leader, told USUN
and UKUN that plans to resume a UN presence in Basrah are
proceeding, and they hope to have the first international
staff in Basrah in early 2008. Mocibob said David Shearer,
D/SRSG for Humanitarian Affairs will likely visit Basrah in
the coming weeks to prepare for a permanent UN presence
there. The initial focus of the UN,s presence in Basrah
will be humanitarian/reconstruction, said Mocibob.

3. (SBU) Mocibob noted that de Mistura has arrived in
Baghdad. During an introductory call with FM Zebari, the
Foreign Minister urged the UN to focus on national
reconciliation, regional dialogue, increasing international
staff in Iraq, capacity building, and disputed internal
boundaries (especially Kirkuk). Regarding Kirkuk, D/SRSG
Michael Schulenberg recently visited Kirkuk and Irbil, and
came back with positive reports that the Kurds are willing to
involve the UN on the Kirkuk issue.

4. (SBU) Cynthia Hatfield from the UN,s Electoral Assistance
Division said that fears of an increasingly politicized Iraqi
Election Commission (IHEC) have diminished in recent weeks,
following IHEC decisions to make personnel decisions more
transparent, and to reduce the ability for political
considerations to impact the filling of technical positions.
She added that IHEC commissioners have reengaged with the UN,
and have asked it for more suggestions on ways to
depoliticize the IHEC,s functioning.

LOGISTICS ISSUES

5. (SBU) Mocibob said the Distinct Entity Trust Fund, which
pays for the UN,s "middle-ring" security, has received
pledges from Portugal, Denmark and Germany, although the
money has not yet been received by the UN. The UN was also
recently informed that the South Korean contingent providing
"middle-ring" security in Irbil is decreasing in size, from
36 to 20. The UN does not yet know whether this will impact
their presence in Iribil, since they are reviewing the
security conditions in Irbil, with a view to possibly
allowing more freedom of movement for UN personnel. Mocibob
added that the UN continues to engage with a South African
company to provide a civilian plane with electronic
counter-measures (ECM). The Secretary-General will write to
South Africa, requesting that they expedite the certification
for this ECM-equipped civilian plane, so that the UN Mission
in Iraq is given this independent air mobility as soon as
possible.
Khalilzad

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