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Cablegate: Rrt Erbil: Special Media Reaction to Vice

VZCZCXRO0014
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1003 0921210
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011210Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6587
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 001003

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO PREL OVIP IZ
SUBJECT: RRT ERBIL: SPECIAL MEDIA REACTION TO VICE
PRESIDENT'S VISIT

This is an Erbil Regional Reconstruction Team message.

1. (U) Vice President Cheney's March 17-18 visit to Baghdad
and the Kurdistan Region dominated local news broadcasts and
has received universally positive editorial commentary in
Kurdish papers in addition to factual reporting. Local press
underscored the "historic nature" of the visit as the Vice
President is the highest ranking USG official to visit the
region. Several papers reported that the Vice President
sought the support of Kurdish leadership for national
reconciliation and for specific legislation, including the
hydrocarbons law. Local press also highlighted the Vice
President's comments about the Kurdish parties' positive role
in national politics and his invitation to Regional President
Barzani to visit Washington.

2. (U) A commentary in KDP organ, "Khabat," stressed the
warmth of the relationship and drew attention to the presence
of the Vice President's wife, Lynne Cheney, in the delegation
was taken as a sign of that personal warmth. Local papers
also remarked on the rare presence of the KRG Prime
Minister's wife, Nabila Barzani, at official functions.

3. (U) An editorial in the PUK organ, "Kurdistane Nwe,"
attributed the visit to soaring oil prices and noted the
significance of the timing so soon after President Talabani's
visit to Turkey. The fact that Cheney mentioned the
"US-Kurdistan Region alliance" and "mentioned the role of the
Kurds in Baghdad and the significant role of the Kurdish
leadership in liberating Iraq" was "an important message that
Washington wanted to convey to the relevant parties."

4. (U) An opinion piece in the PUK affiliated "Chawder"
newspaper stated that the Vice Presidential visit to the
region refutes the view that the U.S. is supporting other
segments of Iraqi society at the expense of the Kurds, and
that Kurdish support for U.S. priorities can cement a
long-term relationship.

5. (U) Independent "Hawlati" suggested that Cheney reminded
Kurdish leadership of the "special friendship" that dates
back to 1991 when the Northern No-Fly Zone protected the
autonomy of the Kurdistan Region and that the Kurds should
repay the favor by supporting the Hydrocarbons Law which is
"like a life preserver to save an America drowning in oil
price increases." "Hawlati" goes on to suggest that Barzani
will in turn demand support for implementation of Article 140
and security guarantees against foreign (Turkish and Iranian)
attacks.
CROCKER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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