Cablegate: Security Council Debates Unami/Mnf-I

DE RUCNDT #1077/01 3222227
O 172227Z NOV 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Security Council received a quarterly
briefing on November 14 from Staffan de Mistura, head of the
UN Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI), and from Ambassador
Khalilzad, on behalf of MNF-I. Iraqi PR Bayati also
addressed the Council. All participants, including members
of the Security Council, praised the recent improvements in
the security situation and the efforts of the UN,
particularly with regard to election preparation, disputed
internal boundaries and the humanitarian situation. Several
countries - Libya, Russia and South Africa - criticized the
recent raid by U.S. forces into Syria on October 26. Syria
attempted to exercise a right of reply following the U.S.
intervention, but its insistence on speaking instead of
conveying its message via letter was not approved by Council
members. END SUMMARY.


2. (U) SRSG Staffan de Mistura began by emphasizing the
importance of the robust Security Council mandate that
allowed UNAMI to support Iraq,s national reconciliation
process and provide assistance with regard to disputed
internal boundaries, development strategies, election
preparations, and the Neighbors Process. Next year will be
the time to consolidate 2008 gains, he said, noting the
"unquestionable" reduction in violence. He warned that
spikes in violence may occur in the run-up to the January
elections, but stressed that the GOI continues to improve its
security forces, including the integration of the Awakening
Councils. He also raised concerns regarding continuing
political tensions, such as the recent Kurdish - Arab dispute
in Khanaquin and the attacks on Mosul,s Christians.

3. (U) De Mistura described UNAMI,s role in breaking the
CoR,s electoral law impasse, which he called the most
important piece of legislation approved during this reporting
period. He was pleased to note the CoR,s amendment of the
law to include specific seats in the Baghdad, Ninewa and
Basrah provincial councils for minorities, which would ensure
Iraq,s respect for minority rights. He said the elections
would lead to a more inclusive sectarian balance and shift
Iraq,s political landscape, adding that the burden of
election observation would fall to Iraqi national observers.
On Kirkuk and disputed internal boundaries de Mistura cited
the recent displacement of Mosul,s Christians as
illustrative of the complex relationship between minority
rights, elections, and disputed territories. UNAMI would
provide technical assistance to the recently established
Kirkuk Commission, he said, in addition to the advanced
analysis of the 15 "fault-lines" in northern Iraq already

4. (U) In regards to Iraq,s relationship with the
international community, de Mistura spoke positively of
greater Iraqi ownership of the International Compact for Iraq
and of the Iraqi MFA,s Ad-Hoc Support Mechanism. He also
applauded regional engagement, such as the several high-level
Arab visits to Iraq and the establishment of diplomatic
missions in Baghdad. Turning to humanitarian issues, de
Mistura noted that the GOI must ensure conditions are right
for IDPs and refugees to return and announced next week,s
launch of a Sub-Regional 2009 humanitarian appeal. He
concluded with UNAMI,s plans to open offices in Najaf,
Ramadi, Mosul, Kirkuk, and Basrah, and added that nine UN
agencies now have permanent senior-level international
presence in county.


5. (U) Iraq Perm Rep Bayati praised the tangible security
improvements throughout Iraq due to GOI operations, citing an
89 per cent drop in violence in 2008 compared to 2007.
Increases in armed forces and police numbers, as well as the
transfer of security to the GOI from MNF-I in Al-Anbar, Babil
and Wasit, demonstrated the GOI capacity to provide security,
he said. Continuing with security gains, he cited the
September 2008 return of 432 Christian families to Baghdad,
the integration of the Awakening Councils and members of
Saddam Hussein,s army into the security forces, and the two
brigades sent to Mosul to protect Christians.

6. (U) On economic growth, Bayati said Iraq expects 8 per
cent economic growth by the end of 2008. He noted that the
GOI had allocated 19 billion USD to encourage increased
foreign investment in Iraq. Oil production increased by 11
per cent in 2008, and the GOI had announced plans to
introduce a monitoring mechanism to ensure oil revenue
transparency. Bayati stressed that the GOI was keen to
promote a culture of tolerance, noting the Ministry of
Interior had dismissed over 27,000 employees due to human
rights abuses. Finally, he highlighted GOI cooperation with
neighboring countries, including recent high level visits to

USUN NEW Y 00001077 002 OF 002

Iraq, the opening of several Arab embassies, and the arrival
of an Arab League Representative. He encouraged the
forgiveness of Iraq,s debt and welcomed a bilateral meeting
with Kuwait to discuss the issue under the auspices of the


7. (U) Council members all praised the recent decline in
security incidents, and noted the importance of election
preparation. They praised the efforts of the UN,
particularly with regard to elections, disputed internal
boundaries and the humanitarian situation. Croatia and the
UK expressly praised the efforts of MNF-I. Libya and Panama
both welcomed the decrease in violence, but called for an end
to "foreign occupation." Libya, Russia and South Africa
criticized the recent raid by U.S. forces into Syria on
October 26. South Africa concluded its remarks by stressing
that the Security Council authorized MNF-I,s mandate, and,
therefore, MNF-I must operate in a manner consistent with the
authority provided.

8. (SBU) Ambassador Khalilzad delivered remarks on behalf of
MNF-I. His statement, which included a brief mention calling
on Syria to halt the flow of terrorists and foreign fighters
across the border, caused the Syrian PR to ask the Costa
Rican Presidency for a right of reply. The Presidency asked
that the right of reply be given in written form, as is
customary in the debate format. The Syrian PR refused and
insisted on speaking. The U.S. and several other Council
members (including a key role played by Burkina Faso)
objected privately to Syria speaking in the Council, and the
session adjourned without Syria,s intervention.

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