Cablegate: Eu Rolls Out Strategy for Progressive Engagement

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




E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/10/2009


B. B. USEU 0239


1. (C) Summary. EC Commissioner Patten, with the full
support of EU HighRep Solana, has proposed an ambitious
strategy for rapidly ramping up EU relations with Iraq
following the transition to sovereignty. In a private letter
that complements the public strategy, Patten and Solana call
on the EU to send election observers, help draft a
constitution, train police, work with Iraq's neighbors to
promote regional stability, and consider co-hosting an
international conference on Iraq. The strategy, boosted by
the creation of the Interim Iraqi Government, UNSCR 1546 and
the G-8 summit, will be considered by EU Foreign Ministers in
Brussels on June 14. The strategy is forward-leaning and
pushes the envelope of what EU ministers will be able to
support. End Summary.

EU Releases Strategy for FM's to consider
2. (C) On June 9, the European Commission released a
three-phase medium term strategy for progressive engagement
with Iraq before, during and after elections. In a joint
cover letter transmitting the strategy to EU Council
President Irish FM Cowen, Commissioner Chris Patten and EU
High Rep Javier Solana elaborate an ambitious program to
build close EU-Iraq ties. The cover letter, obtained by
embassy The Hague (ref A), has not been made public. The
letter and strategy will be considered for endorsement by EU
Foreign Ministers, who meet June 14-15 in Brussels.

EC Strategy: Three phases
3. (SBU) The EC proposal, available online at relations/iraq/news, calls
for engaging Iraq in three distinct phases: pre-election,
post-election and medium term. Apart from being keyed to the
elections, the phases do not have specific time limits. This
is primarily due to uncertainties related to the security
situation that may affect timing of the phases.
--Pre-election: Election support (through civil society
development, rule of law programs, and voter education); a
Troika visit (possibly in the fall, in Baghdad, Amman or
Brussels); launching a regional dialogue with Iraq's
neighbors; and disbursement of 305 million euro
reconstruction/humanitarian assistance package approved last

-- Post-election: Launch formal political dialogue with
provisional government, issue EU/Iraq Joint Declaration, and
disburse CY 2005 reconstruction assistance (requested 200
million euros). The 2005 assistance request will be debated
in the European Parliament this fall.

-- Medium Term: Begin negotiation of a Trade and Cooperation
Agreement (TCA); support creation of a "framework" to enhance
regional security; offer European Investment Bank lending.

Solana-Patten Letter Lays Out Ambitious Agenda
4. (C) The Solana-Patten letter elaborates on each of these
phases, and lays out an ambitious agenda of comprehensive
political engagement with Iraq's interim and provisional
governments. For example, the letter suggests a possible EU
election observer mission, help in drafting a constitution,
and police training as ways to support free elections. It
also suggests sending an exploratory mission to Iraq to
identify other areas where EU assistance would be appropriate.

Regional Security and an International Conference
5. (C) The Solana-Patten letter also highlights the
opportunity for the EU to promote security and stability in
the region by sponsoring regional confidence-building
measures. As a first step, it calls on consulting countries
in the region bilaterally; ultimately, the letter states,
"some form of ad hoc group might be required to support
efforts by the region." The letter notes that the idea of a
regional conference to include Iraq's neighbors has been
raised, and says the EU, "in agreement with the Iraqi Interim
Government, should support and consider co-sponsoring such a

Deepening Engagement
6. (C) The Solana-Patten letter also calls for increased
visits and exchanges to "lay the foundation for longer-term
relations." Addressing the issue of EU representation on the
ground -- as the security situation permits -- the letter
calls on those member states with diplomatic missions in Iraq
"to foster... a collective EU approach..." The Commission
plans to open an office in Amman by July 1; this should move
to Baghdad "when conditions permit" and the EU should
consider appointing a Special Representative to Iraq.
Negotiating a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with
Baghdad will cap the process by institutionalizing EU ties
with Iraq.

Budget Notes
7. (C) Although the strategy is not a budget document, the
outlines of EU assistance beyond 2004 is emerging. The
Commission has requested 200 million euros for reconstruction
for 2005 (matching the pledge made at Madrid for 2004). The
European Parliament should debate and vote on this request in
the fall; the security situation at that time (and the extent
to which it has delayed disbursement of the 2004 package)
will be key considerations. Early in 2005, the Commission
will prepare a proposal for 2006; Patten has hinted that it
is likely to also be for 200 million euros. A commission
official has told us the EC will be looking at the expected
growth in Iraq's oil revenues by then when formulating the
2006 request.

8. (C) The EU strategy for Iraq is a political declaration
of intent to progressively deepen EU engagement with Iraq.
It reflects the personal conviction of Patten and Solana that
the EU can't stay on the sidelines; a stable, democratic Iraq
is essential to European security. Given the EU's past
divisions over the Iraq intervention, it is an ambitious and
far-reaching proposal that the U.S. should welcome.


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