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Cablegate: Afghan Views On Cluster Munitions and Oslo Process

VZCZCXRO5849
OO RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #0346 0431204
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 121204Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2790
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTN DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DCIMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L KABUL 00346

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR PM/WRA (KATHERINE AKER)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/09/2018
TAGS: MPS PARM PREL AF
SUBJECT: AFGHAN VIEWS ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS AND OSLO PROCESS

REF: A. 0 STATE 167308

B. STATE 13607
C. WILLIAMS-BAKER E-MAIL (13 JAN 2008)

Classified By: Ambassador Wood for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: Ambassador Wood on January 31 raised the
cluster munitions (CM) issue with President Karzai and
National Security Advisor Rassoul, who said the Afghan
government would not take any steps that would damage the
U.S.-Afghan security relationship. Foreign Minister
Spanta told the Ambassador and Assistant Secretary Boucher
on February 8 that although an Afghan representative would
attend the Wellington meeting on CM, the Afghan government
would not sign any document produced by the "Oslo Process."

2. (C) Following up on Embassy demarches to the MOD and
MFA in December (Ref C), Ambassador Wood discussed the
Oslo Process with Karzai and Rassoul on January 31. Karzai
and Rassoul understood the significance of the issue for
the U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership and promised that
the Afghan Government wold not sign an Oslo Process
treaty.

3. (C) Following Spanta's return on February 7 from
extended travel, he informed Ambassador Wood that the
participation by an Afghan representative at Oslo Process
meetings was a mistaken initiative by the Afghan Ambassador
to Norway. MFA officials at the Assistant Secretary level
had apparently viewed the cluster munitions issue in the
same vein as the anti-landmine Ottawa Treaty, to which
Afghanistan is a party. The MFA bureaucracy saw an
opportunity to further insert Afghanistan into the
anti-landmine (inclusive of ordnance resulting in
explosive remnants of war) group of nations in the
international community without regard for the implications
for the U.S.-Afghan relationship. When the issue reached
the Foreign Minister's office, the Minister's Senior
Advisor provided informal assurances that Afghanistan would
not be a signatory to an Oslo Process treaty, which Spanta
formally confirmed on February 7.

4. (C) COMMENT: The delay in receiving a formal response
from the MFA and the necessity of raising this issue with
the President underscore the dearth of experienced
diplomats in the MFA. It also underscores the narrow focus
of the MOD, which was unaware of Afghan participation in
Oslo Process meetings and the implications for U.S.-Afghan
security relations. Although Embassy encouraged the MOD to
insert itself into the decision-making process, considering
the military interoperability and training assistance
equities, Defense Minister Wardak was reluctant to engage
on a "diplomatic" matter unless/until brought up in cabinet
meetings.
WOOD

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