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Cablegate: Unami Expansion Plans

VZCZCXRO0096
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUCNDT #0152 0462148
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 152148Z FEB 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3760
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000152

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV UNSC IZ
SUBJECT: UNAMI EXPANSION PLANS


1. (SBU) Summary: Following the January visit to Baghdad of
UN Under Secretary for Safety and Security David Veness, the
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has been
given permission to raise its international staff ceiling to
140, which means an increase of 19 professional staff. Given
this decision, UN specialized agencies, including UNHCR and
UNICEF, will now assign permanent staff to Baghdad. In a
related move, UNAMI is looking at ways to expand its reach
throughout Iraq, and as initial steps will consider loosening
travel restrictions in the Kurdish north, as well as basing
UN military advisers with MNF-I in Kirkuk and Fallujah to
facilitate UN travel to those cities. Regarding UNAMI's
long-term facility, SRSG de Mistura continues to work with
the U.S. to secure approval for UN use of the "Georgian"
compound adjacent to the new U.S. Embassy compound in
Baghdad.. End summary.

STAFFING

2. (SBU) Darko Mocibob, team leader for Iraq in the UN,s
Department of Political Affairs, accompanied Veness on his
recent trip to Iraq. Mocibob confirmed that, effective
immediately, the ceiling for international staff in Baghdad
is raised to 140. This translates into 19 additional slots
for professional personnel. UNHCR High Commissioner Guterres
is expected to announce shortly that five UNCHR staff will be
assigned to Baghdad. Other specialized agencies such as
UNICEF are planning to assign senior-level representatives to
Baghdad.

3. (SBU) In an attempt to expand UNAMI,s reach throughout
the country, the UN is also considering loosening travel
restrictions in the north, said Mocibob. Currently, UN staff
must be escorted by MNF-I personnel. New rules being
considered drop that requirement, and require only that UN
military advisers with direct communication links to MNF-I
rapid reaction forces accompany all UN movements. In Kurdish
areas, the UN would still be escorted by KRG security forces.
In Basrah, the UN has already established a de facto
presence, said Mocibob, with two UNAMI staff on the ground at
the Basrah Air Station. Over the coming weeks, the UN
expects more slots for its staff to open, and hopes to have
as many as 11 personnel in Basrah Air Station by March.

4. (SBU) Mocibob said the UN has noted the increased
capability of Iraq security forces, and therefore has decided
to increase the ceiling for UNAMI military advisers from 7 to
17, and has also begun consideration of deploying as many as
4 police advisers, to improve UNAMI,s
coordination/capacity-building with Iraqi police. Within the
coming months, security conditions permitting, the UN also
plans on deploying military advisers to Kirkuk and Fallujah.

FUTURE HEADQUARTERS

5. (SBU) Veness visited the "Georgian" compound during his
visit to Baghdad, and came away with the impression that it
would work as a long-term facility for the UN. Given that
the UN would be in the new diplomatic compound, its security
costs would plummet, said Mocibob. Veness and SRSG de
Mistura met with General Petraeus and Mochibob said the UN
understood from this meeting that the United States was
prepared to offer the entire "Georgian" compound to the UN.
However, a subsequent letter sent by U.S. authorities in
Baghdad said the UN could only be given half of the Georgian
compound due to competing space needs, which the UN judges is
insufficient for its needs. Mocibob said de Mistura is
working on this issue with MNF-I and Embassy Baghdad, and
hopes to achieve a resolution as soon as possible, given that
this approval is a prerequisite for the UN to begin the
planning process. Mocibob said Iraqi NSA Mowaffak al-Rubaie
told Veness that Iraq would have no problem giving the UN a
long-term lease to the "Georgian" compound site.
WOLFF

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