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Cablegate: Security Council Briefing On Unami, Mnf-I

VZCZCXRO4393
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUCNDT #0084/01 0292114
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 292114Z JAN 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3620
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 000084

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFING ON UNAMI, MNF-I


1. (U) SUMMARY: The Security Council held its quarterly
meeting January 21 on the situation in Iraq. Special
Representative to the Secretary-General (SRSG) Staffan de
Mistura briefed for the first time in his new capacity as the
head of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq
(UNAMI), and Ambassador Khalilzad briefed on behalf of the
Multinational Force (MNF-I). Both de Mistura and the
Ambassador told the Council that significant improvements in
the security situation had created an opportunity for durable
progress with regard to national reconciliation that must be
seized by Iraq. Other members of the Council, as well as
Iraqi PermRep Bayati, echoed these statements. Russia, South
Africa and Libya were more sparing in their assessments and
said they continued to have grave concerns about the security
and political situation in Iraq. Russia and Libya were the
only delegations to raise the issue of security contractors.
Libyan PermRep Ettalhi called on MNF-I to end its
"occupation" of Iraq, but Iraqi PermRep Bayati forcefully
rejected this statement, stating that MNF-I is a "friendly
force." Bayati also restated Iraq's willingness to make a
financial contribution to the new UNAMI compound, and asked
for the Council to reduce Iraqi oil revenue contributions to
the UN Compensation Commission from five to one percent. END
SUMMARY.

UNAMI, MNF-I BRIEFINGS

2. (U) In his first briefing to the Council as Iraq envoy,
SRSG de Mistura underscored the importance of Security
Council Resolution 1770, which expanded the UN mandate. In
dealing with UNAMI,s increased responsibilities, de Mistura
said the goals are to "monitor emerging trends and propose
carefully chosen, and time-sensitive, initiatives - either
jumpstarting or galvanizing existing processes." He outlined
UNAMI,s primary areas of attention: 1) resolving disputed
internal boundaries, 2) helping returnees, 3) entering the
debate of the timeliness and preconditions for provincial
elections, 4) supporting Iraq,s international partnership
under the Compact, and 5) advancing regional dialogue.

3. (U) De Mistura said 2008 is "a window of opportunity,"
given the recent advances in the security situation, and
certain preliminary advances in the political and economic
situation. Given this situation, UNAMI plans to expand its
office in Irbil, and seeks to establish a presence in both
Basra International Airport as well as Kirkuk. In short,
said de Mistura, UNAMI plans to enhance, both qualitatively
and quantitatively, its presence in Iraq.

4. (U) Drawing on reftel points, Ambassador Khalilzad
followed with a briefing on behalf of MNF-I. He underscored
the positive effects of the surge - monthly overall attacks
have been reduced by 60 percent since June 2007, while
hard-hit provinces such as Anbar and the Baghdad area have
seen marked increases in stability. The Ambassador noted
that Iraqi security forces are "moving forward to take
greater control of their country,s security," and the
transition to Provincial Iraqi Control is proceeding as
planned. Regional and international engagement continues to
improve, and "hope is returning." The Ambassador concluded
that Iraqis must take advantage of the momentum created by
the improvements in security to pass and implement key
legislation, and promote reconciliation.

REACTIONS FROM THE SECURITY COUNCIL

5. (U) Council members uniformly supported the role of UNAMI,
and praised the recent downturn in violence. France, the UK
and China, among others, expressed their hope that the
improvements would prove durable, and to that end emphasized
the importance of regional dialogue. Russia also emphasized
the importance of regional dialogue, and praised Syria and
Iran for the "positive dynamic" of the dialogue. Regarding
the security situation, Russian PermRep Churkin said,
however, that "declaring victory is premature," and said the
security situation will remain unstable for the foreseeable
future. He said that UNAMI reporting on the humanitarian and
human rights situation was not as fulsome as it had been in
past reports, and asked UNAMI to focus on the detention
practices of the Iraqi government and MNF-I. Russia and
Libya criticized the presence of foreign security contractors
in Iraq, with Libya saying their presence should be
"criminalized." Russia and Panama also expressed concern
about the local citizen watch groups, and said they should be
fully integrated under the supervision of Iraqi security
forces.

6. (U) Indonesia said it "draws encouragement from the steady
decline in security problems," and looked forward to
continuing progress, which "will lead to the withdrawal of
MNF-I." Indonesia expressed support for intra-religious

USUN NEW Y 00000084 002 OF 002


dialogue within Iraq, and praised recent attempts to bridge
Sunni and Shia misunderstandings. South Africa and Libya
were more grudging in their acknowledgment of improvements in
the security situation. As in previous interventions, South
Africa emphasized that the mandate of MNF-I must be closely
monitored by the Security Council. SC President and Libyan
PermRep Ettalhi, speaking immediately before Iraqi PermRep
Bayati, blamed "occupation forces" for all of Iraq,s
problems, saying they destroyed Iraq,s political,
administrative and cultural institutions. Ettalhi said Iraq
is "fully able to shoulder all their responsibilities," and
called for a "clear horizon to end the occupation."

IRAQ PERMREP BAYATI REACTS

7. (U) Iraqi PermRep Bayati forcefully rejected Ettalhi,s
characterization of MNF-I as an "occupier," stating that
MNF-I is a "friendly force." Bayati underscored recent
political progress, including the adoption by the Council of
Representatives of the Justice and Accountability Law. He
said Iraq looks forward to the Security Council addressing
Iraq,s challenges outside of the Chapter VII format. Given
improvements in the security situation, Bayati said Iraq
invites "all brotherly and friendly countries" to re-open
their embassies in Iraq. Bayati asked that Iraq,s Paris
Club debt be forgiven, and also called for the UN
Compensation Committee to reduce payment of compensation from
Iraq,s oil revenues from five percent to one percent.
Bayati reaffirmed Iraq,s willingness to work with UNAMI, and
in this regard, noted that the Ministries of Justice,
Defense, Interior and Labor and Social Affairs in Baghdad and
Kurdistan have extended an invitation to the UNAMI Human
Rights office to visit their respective detention facilities.
Bayati closed by noting his government,s willingness "to
contribute to building the new headquarters of UNAMI in Iraq
to facilitate the fulfillment of its mandate."
WOLFF

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