Cablegate: European Commission Thinking On International Iraq

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





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary. The European Commission wants to see a
successful U.S.-EU co-hosted Iraq conference in June, and is
convinced this means keeping it to a one-day event, and
focusing the agenda on next steps in Iraq between now and the
next round of elections. The EC is in synch with U.S.
thinking on the conference, but has some concerns such as how
to schedule 50-70 ministers' speaking time and whether a
face-face preparatory meeting is necessary. The EC also
wants to see UN participation in the planning, hopes the
Iraqi delegation will include civil society and Sunnis, sees
Turkey as key to bringing Iraq's neighbors to the event, and
is cool to the Japanese offer to be a third co-host. EC
Middle East Director Leffler hopes to speak to EB A/S Wayne
soon, and looks forward to Ambassador Jones' April 21 visit.
End Summary.

2. (SBU) The European Commission has started to focus on the
U.S.-EU co-hosted international conference on Iraq. Key
officials on the staff of EC Middle East Director Christian
Leffler, who has the lead on the conference, met with Poloff
and Development Counselor on April 13. Keying off the points
shared by EUR Acting A/S Bradtke with the EU at the April 11
U.S.-EU Political and Security Committee Troika meeting
(septel), the officials said the EC is in agreement with the
U.S. on "95 percent" of the issues. EC thinking on key
issues is outlined below.

Venue: Brussels or Luxembourg okay; but 70 ministers?
3. (SBU) EC is agnostic on whether Brussels or Luxembourg
would work best, noting that the EC has never organized a
70-delegation ministerial-level conference. Of concern,
regardless of venue, is how to organize a one-day ministerial
conference with up to seventy delegations. If even 50
ministers are present, all will want three minutes to speak.
In the EC's view, that is a formula for wasting a day with
nothing to show at the end.

Structure: Keep it one-day and simple
4. (SBU) EC is concerned that, with only six weeks to plan,
the conference should be focused on sending the right
political message of support to the new Iraqi government. It
should be a one-day event; there isn't time to organize
follow-on civil society or private sector gatherings.
Rather, ministers could give mandates to other groups to
follow up in these areas. The EC also does not want to
overburden the Iraqis with an overly ambitious agenda.

Themes: Reconciliation, Int'l Support, Iraqi vision
5. (SBU) EC sees three objectives for the conference: (1)
promote "reconciliation" (i.e. Sunni participation); (2)
demonstrate international support for the transitional
government; (3) allow the new Iraqi government to articulate
its goals and priorities between now and the next elections.
This should not be seen as a donor pledging conference.
Further funding is not being raised at this event and the
emphasis is now on disbursement of existing pledged funds.
The EC sees value-added for the conference by having it focus
on the specific period between now and the next elections.
They see the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs taking the
lead, with Ministry of Planning in a support role.

Prominent UN Role
6. (SBU) The EC wants to see a prominent UN role in the
conference, to help UN Rep Qazi in his role. For example, the
EC thinks the UN should be part of the small coordinating
group that plans the conference.

Cairo Preparatory Meeting: Too much?
7. (SBU) The EC asked for more details on this idea. Their
concern is that a truly substantive preparatory meeting will
divert resources from planning the conference itself. If the
preparatory meeting is not substantive, there's no reason to
hold it. EC would prefer to handle coordination through
conference calls, much as donor coordination is handled, so
decisions can be made quickly and on a regular basis, as
planning progresses.

8. (SBU) The EC sees Turkey as playing a key role to bring
Iraq's neighbors to the conference.

Iraqi delegation: Include Civil Society
9. (SBU) The EC believes it is essential that the Iraqi
delegation include civil society, women, and Sunnis. This
will help address issues the international community can be
expected to raise re reconciliation, human rights, and civil

EU cool to Japan as co-host
10. (SBU) The EU Presidency (Luxembourg) has informed Japan
that it would welcome a special Japanese role in the
conference, perhaps chairing a specific session, but is cool
to the idea of co-sponsorship by Japan. Our interlocutors
like the notion of a U.S.-EU event and want to keep
sponsorship limited. Otherwise, why not include Canada or
others, too?

Next Steps: EC Needs Iraqi Request for the Conference
11. (SBU) EC Middle East Director Leffler, who is traveling
April 13 to Jerusalem, will try to contact EB A/S Wayne on
April 13th or 14th to discuss these issues in more detail.
The EC also looks forward to Ambassador Jones' April 21
meetings in Brussels to help flesh out the way forward. The
EC sees the Amman donors conference as coming after the US-EU
conference, being broader in scope, but held at the
technical, vice political, level. Finally, the EC reiterated
it needs an official Iraqi government request for the

12. (U) Baghdad minimize considered.


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