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Cablegate: Iraq Assistance: Turkey Waits for Better

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

UNCLAS ANKARA 003079

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AF EAID ECON EFIN IZ PREL TU
SUBJECT: IRAQ ASSISTANCE: TURKEY WAITS FOR BETTER
COORDINATION BEFORE SPENDING ITS USD 50 MILLION PLEDGE


Sensitive but unclassified -- not for internet distribution.


1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador Rifat Okcun, the GOT's
coordinator for assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan, told
Econoff that he was disappointed with the Iraqi Government
presentation to the May 25-26 Doha meeting and the apparent
lack of donor coordination. He added that Turkey will wait
until security and coordination improves before starting
reconstruction projects under its USD 50 million pledge. End
Summary.


Iraq Assistance


2. (SBU) Doha Meeting: Turkey's coordinator for Iraq and
Afghan assistance, Ambassador Rifat Okcun, who recently
returned from the Doha Iraq Trust Fund meeting, said he was
disappointed at the quality of the presentation made by Iraqi
officials, but added that a number of the donor delegations
also appeared poorly prepared to discuss the priority needs
for Iraq. As a result, he did not expect much progress from
international donors to begin implementing projects in Iraq.
He added that it was "appropriate and important" that Iraqi
government officials took the lead to make the presentations
to the donors, and he was upbeat about Iraq's future. He
expressed his hope that we may soon reach the crest of the
difficult portion of the process and "the ball will start
rolling downhill." Okcun explained that he has a number of
good project proposals that Turkey would like to initiate.
However, Turkey will continue to wait for security to improve
and for better donor coordination before it begins disbursing
its USD 50 million pledge. He acknowledged the U.S. USD 10
million pledge to the IRFFI as an expression of good will,
but agreed that U.S. assistance money for Iraq is better
spent when it is managed directly by the U.S. Turkey will
follow that same approach, preferring to manage directly the
bulk of its assistance.


3. (U) IRFFI Pledge: Okcun reported that Turkey became the
twentieth member of the IRFFI at Doha by pledging the minimum
USD 1.2 million. The pledge will come from the USD 50 pledge
Turkey made at the Madrid Donors' Conference. He added that
Turkey will seek one of the two at-large seats on the Donor
Committee and is preparing a meeting in New York of the
representatives from the small donors to discuss Turkey's
candidacy.


4. (SBU) Okcun raised his concern that contracting rules
that require a certain percentage of Iraqi labor will lead to
inefficiency and corruption. Under the Hussein regime,
contractors frequently hired and paid local workers but did
not use them to perform the work. He said there was
insufficient qualified labor locally, which could compel some
reconstruction contractors to follow the old pattern of
paying but not using Iraqi labor.


Afghan Assistance


5. (U) Okcun was upbeat about progress of international
assistance for Afghanistan. He said the Afghan government
officials, on the whole, were very professional, and he
expected reconstruction and the security situation to improve
significantly in the coming year. He reported that Turkey
had already disbursed USD 6 million of its total pledge of
USD 10 million and that he had USD 2.9 million yet to spend
this year. Turkey will almost certainly exceed its USD 10
million pledge in coming years, he added, and pointed out
that these figures do not include a number of humanitarian
assistance projects conducted by the Turkish military in
Afghanistan.


CPA Baghdad Minimize Considered.
EDELMAN

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