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Cablegate: U.S.- U.N. High-Level Strategic Dialogue On Iraq

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OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUCNDT #0633/01 1981615
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161615Z JUL 08
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4619
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD IMMEDIATE 0679

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 USUN NEW YORK 000633

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PREM IZ UNSC
SUBJECT: U.S.- U.N. HIGH-LEVEL STRATEGIC DIALOGUE ON IRAQ

1. (SBU) Summary: On July 11 the U.S. and the U.N. conducted
a High-Level Strategic Dialogue on Iraq, comprised of a
political component chaired by UN Under-Secretary-General for
Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe and a security component
chaired by Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security
Sir David Veness. Special Representative to the
Secretary-General (SRSG) Staffan de Mistura and S/I David
Satterfield participated in both portions of the brief from
Iraq. Satterfield served as the primary U.S. briefer for the
political discussion and COL Kenneth Dahl of JCS and Acting
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Colleen Getz served as
the primary U.S. briefers for the security discussion. Both
de Mistura and Satterfield underscored the significantly
improved security situation in Iraq. SRSG de Mistura related
his plan to expand UNAMI's footprint into Najaf, Samara,
Ramadi, Mosul, and Kirkuk in the coming months, calling it a
"major priority." Acting DASD Getz informed de Mistura that
the U.S. would provide UNAMI with one U.S. MILAD in the fall.
De Mistura asserted that MILADs have been critically
important in the expansion of UNAMI's footprint, and thanked
the U.S. for its pledge. All parties agreed that continuing
UNAMI's current security arrangement with the U.S. beyond
December 31, 2008 is critical. De Mistura said the current
UNAMI mandate was sufficient and would not need to be changed
when it expires on August 10 and is extended. Satterfield
briefed on his conversation July 11 with FM Zebari in which
Zebari anticipated a smooth rollover of the UNSCR authorizing
UNAMI.

2. (SBU) De Mistura confirmed that he intends to use the
recently approved site in the Green Zone for the new UNAMI
compound, even though some have suggested that building the
UNAMI compound so close to the U.S. Embassy is dangerous.
The UN is comfortable with this location and hopes
construction will start by January 2009. De Mistura
recommended addressing GOI funding for the compound in
September when Iraq sends its leaders to the UN General
Assembly in New York. End Summary.

Iraq Overview

3. (SBU) Satterfield led off with a general overview of the
situation in Iraq and noted that the degree of cooperation
between the U.S. and the UN has been excellent. Security
continues to improve in most areas around the country.
Although the sources of threat to security, including al
Qaeda, militias, and other armed criminal groups, remain
active, recent operations by Iraqi and Coalition forces have
diminished the ability of these groups to carry out attacks.
Satterfield said, "we were surprised" by the Iraqi-led
operation in Basra. However, he underscored that the
decision of PM Maliki to challenge the Shiite criminal groups
received unprecedented support from the civilian population.

4. (SBU) On national reconciliation, Satterfield suggested
that the Provincial Powers Law was an important development,
not only because it struck a good balance between federal and
provincial powers, but also because it demonstrated the
ability of Iraqi leaders and politicians to compromise on
issues and breakdown political blocs. The recently passed
de-Ba'athification Law, as well as other outreach to those
Sunnis and Shi'as who were previously engaged in violence,
has contributed to the long-term goal of national
reconciliation.

5. (SBU) Satterfield stated that Iraq has made "break-neck
progress" with regards to regional engagement. He credited
the successful Iraqi-led operations in Basra and Sadr City
and the Hezbollah coup in West Beirut as the proximate
reasons for increased regional engagement. Egypt, Qatar,
Oman, Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain are strengthening their
diplomatic relationships with Iraq. Regional dialogue with
Saudi Arabia lags considerably behind the others and
Satterfield was not "overly optimistic" that this will change
anytime soon. In response to a question posed by the UN
Department of Political Affairs, Satterfield affirmed that
while the channel remained open the U.S. currently has no
plans to hold another round of bilateral talks with Iran,
noting that the previous three rounds did not yield
substantive results.

Update on Elections

6. (SBU) On elections, de Mistura stressed the need to pass
an election law by the end of July in order to ensure that
elections would be held before the end of 2008. The UN has
assisted the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission in
the setup of 522 centers for voter registration and 47,000
Iraqis are being trained to assist in the registration
process. The UN is also looking into options for using
international elections monitors, since such monitors would

USUN NEW Y 00000633 002 OF 003


increase the credibility of the elections. De Mistura noted
that, with the exception of the issue of Kirkuk, the GoI is
almost in agreement on a workable text to the election law,
which will likely include provisions for a hybrid-open list
and the participation of minorities. Both de Mistura and
Satterfield agreed that the Turkoman proposal for Kirkuk was
preventing forward movement on the elections law. De Mistura
has relayed this message to the Turkomans, informing them
that the elections cannot be "held hostage" by Kirkuk.
Satterfield further noted that although the Arab bloc has
continued to cling to the Turkoman proposal, CoR Speaker
Mashadani will press for movement on the elections law.
Finally, de Mistura cautioned that August-October would be a
crucial time period, since various groups will seek to
undermine Iraqi sovereignty in anticipation of the U.S. and
Iraqi elections.

Update on Disputed Internal Boundaries (DIBs)

7. (SBU) On the issue of Article 140, SRSG de Mistura was
relieved that the deadline for the resolution (June 30) had
passed unnoticed. With regards to the recently published UN
report on disputed internal boundaries (DIBs), de Mistura
expressed satisfaction that the various political blocs were
directing their anger and frustration over the
recommendations at the UN, rather than at each other. De
Mistura briefed on his recent conversations with the Kurds on
the DIB process, noting that he had explained to them that
the UN was not able to tailor a report to their
specifications. According to de Mistura, the various blocs
must reach agreement either on the basis of the UN proposal
or an Iraqi-generated proposal, although he noted that the UN
report was really an analysis of the various options, rather
than a specific proposal.

Human Rights in Iraq

8. (SBU) Deputy Director of OHCHR Craig Mokhiber
characterized the human rights situation in Iraq as "grave
and serious." He noted the treatment of women and
minorities, the targeting of Iraqi working professionals, and
the treatment of detainees as major human rights issues in
Iraq. On a positive note, the UN is hopeful that the
National Human Rights Commission Law will be passed by the
GOI soon. The UN is concerned with the increase in the
number of detainees being held without charges. The UN also
noted that insurgents, including Sadrists during the recent
operations in Sadr City, continue to use innocent civilians
as human shields. The UN expressed concern that MNF-I and
ISF forces occasionally use disproportionate force against
insurgents that causes harm to innocent civilians. SRSG de
Mistura praised the comprehensiveness of the UN human rights
report and commended recent improvements in MNF-I and Iraqi
detention centers, but called for more improvements in the
near future. He urged MNF-I to allow UNAMI personnel inside
detention centers to assess their compliance with human
rights standards. S/I Satterfield commended the accuracy of
the UN human rights report, and emphasized the considerable
improvements in MNF-I detention centers made over the last
year. Satterfield noted that improvements must continue to
be made to Iraqi detention centers. He also mentioned the
long-term goal of transitioning all Coalition Force detention
facilities to Iraqi control.

Humanitarian, Reconstruction, and Development in Iraq

9. (SBU) Executive Director of UNHCR's office in New York
Pierre Bertrand stated that 20 percent of the Iraqi
population is currently displaced either inside or outside
Iraq's borders. Bertrand praised the Conference on
Displacement that occurred this week in Baghdad, calling it a
good example of a platform for reconciliation. UNHCR's 260
million USD appeal to address external displacement will
likely be short 100 million USD, and the UN asked the U.S. to
help close that financial gap. Bertrand cautioned against a
disorderly return of displaced Iraqis from locations outside
the country, and lamented PM Maliki's unwillingness to assist
Iraqi refugees currently in neighboring countries.
Satterfield noted that PM Maliki feels that many of the
refugees in places like Syria and Jordan are Baath-party
sympathizers who reject a post-Saddam Iraq and don't want to
go back to Iraq. Satterfield stated that PM Maliki "won't
budge" from this stance. He cited the Balkans as an example
of the negative repercussions that can result from an
ill-prepared return of refugees. SRSG de Mistura suggested
that Iraq use its oil money to address the IDP/EDP problem,
and pledged to continue to work on this issue with the GOI.
On reconstruction and development, both de Mistura and
Satterfield agreed that Iraq needs considerable help in
properly using its money and resources to address economic
and essential service needs. SRSG de Mistura mentioned the

USUN NEW Y 00000633 003 OF 003


growing footprint of UNHCR, UNDP, the WHO, and UNICEF in
Iraq, and mentioned the need for a senior advisor on
agriculture from the FAO.

Expanding UN Footprint

10. (SBU) SRSG de Mistura stated that expanding UNAMI's
footprint into Najaf, Sammara, Ramadi, Mosul, and Kirkuk is a
"major priority" that will begin in the coming months. He is
also determined to increase UNAMI's self-sufficiency in Iraq.
All parties agreed that continuing UNAMI's current security
arrangement with the U.S. beyond December 31, 2008 is
critical. De Mistura suggested that the ISF should take an
expanded role in securing the UN in the long-term, to include
having the ISF provide Quick Reaction Forces soon. De
Mistura recommended the formation of joint security working
groups to conduct an assessment of the ISF and to look at
their expanded role in regards to UN security. De Mistura
stated that the UNAMI mandate would not need to be changed
when it expires on August 10 and is extended. Satterfield
briefed on his conversation July 11 with FM Zebari in which
Zebari anticipated a smooth rollover of the UNSCR authorizing
UNAMI.

11. (SBU) Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Colleen Getz informed de Mistura that the U.S. will provide
UNAMI with one U.S. MILAD in the fall. De Mistura asserted
that MILADs have been critically important in the expansion
of UNAMI's footprint. The UN is concerned about the length
of time it will take for its off-base missions to get
approved by MNF-I once it moves to Najaf, Samara, Ramadi,
Mosul, and Kirkuk. The UN wishes to decrease the mission
approval time from 21 days to 72 hours (Note: mission
approval time for the UN in Baghdad is normally around 72
hours. End Note). De Mistura and Veness noted that as the UN
footprint expands, logistics requirements would also increase
considerably. For example, the UN is considering adding
helicopters to UNAMI's resources, and they are planning to
begin with an initial deployment of helicopters to the north
in the coming months.

12. (SBU) De Mistura also confirmed that he intends to use
the recently approved site in the Green Zone for the new
UNAMI compound, even though some have suggested that building
the UNAMI compound so close to the U.S. Embassy is dangerous.
The UN is comfortable with this location and hopes that
construction will start by January 2009. De Mistura
recommended addressing the issue of GOI funding for the
compound in September when Iraq's leaders attend the opening
session of the UN General Assembly in New York. At the
meeting's conclusion, Veness proposed a follow-up visit by
his team to Washington to continue discussion on
security-related issues that were raised during this
dialogue, to include advance planning for a UN/U.S. security
agreement following the expiration of the MNF-I mandate at
the end of 2008.

13. (SBU) This message was cleared by S/I David Satterfield.
Khalilzad

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