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Cablegate: Expanding Italy's Role in Iraq: Letter From Fm

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 000080

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO ECON PREL EFIN IZ IT IRAQI FREEDOM
SUBJECT: EXPANDING ITALY'S ROLE IN IRAQ: LETTER FROM FM
FRATTINI TO AMBASSADOR SEMBLER

REF: ROME 4974

1. (U) SUMMARY: Following is a letter and non-paper from FM
Frattini to Ambassador Sembler dated December 23, 2003. The
letter emphasizes Italy's continued determination to assume a
greater role in Iraqi reconstruction and tacitly refers to
the GOI's prior request for a senior position in CPA (Ref A).
The accompanying non-paper highlights five distinct projects
that are the focus of Italy's Iraq reconstruction efforts in
the telecommunications, transportation infrastructure,
water/irrigation, power generation, and information
technology sectors. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Informal Embassy translation of letter from FM
Frattini to Ambassador Sembler:

Rome, December 23, 2003

Dear Ambassador,

Last October I sent to your kind attention a brief note
pointing out sectors of Iraqi reconstruction of particular
interest to Italy.

Thanks to your authoritative involvement, I understand that
our position and our legitimate expectations were brought to
the attention of the appropriate authorities both in
Washington and with the CPA in Baghdad. I am grateful for
the fact that our request was received favorably; it now
needs to be realized.

Our determination in this regard is steadfast and we have
recently more deeply specified projects which could further
qualify Italy's capacity to positively contribute to the
economic recovery of Iraq.

The new aide-memoire which I am enclosing is the result of an
important review and identification of projects, to which, in
certain cases, we have already committed significant
financial and technical resources.

I am confident that you will want to assure that Washington
understands our enduring commitment and the confidence with
which we regard Italy's participation in Iraqi reconstruction.

((Complementary closure)),

Franco Frattini

3. (U) Text of non-paper (in English) "Participation To The
Reconstruction of Iraq":

Italy is the third largest contributor to the stabilization
force in Iraq, having placed at its disposal over
three-thousand troops, whose mission will be extended for six
more months next year, and more than 35 civilian experts,
both in Baghdad, Basra and the Dhi-Qar province. Italy is an
important financial contributor as well as having pledged at
the Madrid Conference additional multi-annual funds of USD
250 million on top of the 250 million already disbursed this
year. Italy is extremely keen to be involved in the
reconstruction programs and its business community expects to
take an active part in the large program of projects which is
scheduled to be finalized in the early weeks of 2004.

In this context Italy is particularly interested in the
following projects:

-- In the telecommunications sector, Telecom Italia has
submitted a detailed proposal for linking the Iraqi fixed
telephone system to the international grid via Jordan and
Israel. The projects known as "Med-Nautilus" has been
already presented in Baghdad to the CPA and the competent
Iraqi interim minister, and in Washington (DoS, CPA, NSC,
USAID).

-- In the transportation and infrastructure sector Italy has
contributed USD 1.8 million through a special bill for Iraq
to the drafting of a new Iraqi Transport Master Plan, which
aims at restructuring the entire transportation grid of the
country, including airports as well as railways and highways.
The contract should be entrusted to a consortium of 5
companies led by Italferr and organized under the umbrella of
the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure. Through the drafting
of the Master Plan a number of "Fast Track Projects" have
been already identified in which the Italian companies can
provide assistance, notably in respect of the intermodal


Center of Umm Qasr, which is linked to the rehabilitation of
the civilian airport of Bassora, the reconstruction of the
North-South axis railway, and the repair of Highway n.1
connecting Baghdad and Hilla.

-- Concerning irrigation and water resources Italy is
actively involved in the "New Eden" project, developed by the
Italian Ministry of Environment together with the "Iraqi
Foundation" for the reclaiming of the marshlands in the
Southern region. Italy is interested as well in building the
Dam of Bukhme, one of the biggest projects connected to the
construction bill.

-- In the field of Electric power generation, Ansaldo
Energia, the Fata Group, and the Finmeccanica Group have
considerable experience in the Iraqi market, and have over
the last thirty years supplied a wide range of power
generating units as well as turn-key installations. They
could assist in the updating and renovation of the power
generation systems of the country. Italy is also interested
in the rehabilitation program of the Dam of Bukhme, one of
the biggest projects connected to the construction of a power
plant (Techint is interested in leading and international
consortium).

-- A program of monetization of the Iraqi "food basket," by
means of debit cards to be issued to every adult citizen, is
being discussed. It will call for sophisticated IT and
communications technology, for which the Italian company
ELSAG has considerable expertise and possesses leading-edge
technology.

Next January Italian companies will attend two major
international events, which will take place in Jordan and
Kuwait and which are aimed at promoting the opportunities
offered by the Iraqi market to the international business
community. There will be an Italian official presence at the
Amman exhibition, organized by the U.S. Department of
Commerce. Moreover, the Italian Vice Minister for Trade will
lead a national delegation of about 100 Italian companies to
the exhibition "Rebuild Iraq," which will take place in
Kuwait. On both occasions we wish to have the opportunity of
establishing close contacts with the American delegations.

Some Italian companies have already showed a strong interest
in taking part as prime contractors in the international
tenders open to the member countries of the Coalition. Among
them are those known in the electric power generation sector
Magrini, associated with Nuovo Galileo, and GTT, and in a
number of other sectors Techint, Ansaldo, Fata, Nuovo
Pignone, Alenia-Marconi and Comat.

4. (U) End text.
SKODON


NNNN
2004ROME00080 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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