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Cablegate: Greece/Iraq: U.S.-Iraq Agreements and Gog

VZCZCXRO7417
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIHL RUEHIK
RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR
RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTH #1617 3381323
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031323Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2863
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS ATHENS 001617

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON EFIN GR IZ PGOV PREL UNSC
SUBJECT: GREECE/IRAQ: U.S.-IRAQ AGREEMENTS AND GOG
ASSISTANCE

REF: A. SECSTATE 126109
B. ATHENS 1572
C. 07 ATHENS 872

1. (SBU) During a wide-ranging initial call, DCM Deborah
McCarthy discussed ref A points on the U.S.-Iraq Agreements
with MFA A6 Middle East Directorate head Ambassador Vassilis
Papaioannou. Papaioannou was already aware of the agreements
through the Greek Embassy in Baghdad, though he nevertheless
appreciated our update. He said Greece was glad to see the
agreements finalized. They would add "greater stability and
predictability" to the situation.

2. (SBU) DCM also took the opportunity to thank Papaioannou
for his role in conceiving and organizing the training of ten
young Iraqi diplomats at the Greek MFA Diplomatic Academy in
November (ref B). Papaioannou said that, while Greece was
unable to provide troops in Iraq, it wished to assist the new
Iraqi government and the Iraqi people and was doing so
through a number of humanitarian and other assistance
programs. He noted, amongst other efforts, Greece's role in
the EU's training of 1,800 Iraqi judges and Greece's recent
forgiving of Iraq's debt, which Papaioannou said had been
tough politically. (NOTE: For other Greek equipment
donations and assistance to Iraq, see ref C. END NOTE.)
Papaioannou also mentioned that the Iraqis were appreciative
that Greece never closed its Embassy in Baghdad, despite the
difficult security situation at times. This also had a good
impact on other Arab countries' views of Greece.

3. (SBU) Finally, on Iraq, Papaioannou said that recent
reports from their Embassy indicated the situation in Iraq
was "not negative." They believed that PM Maliki was sincere
in his efforts to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq -- it was
"not just for show." Nevertheless, tensions remained --
particularly between the north and other parts of the
country, but these were not "threatening."

SPECKHARD

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