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Cablegate: Proposed Warsaw Conference On Disabilities in Iraq

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

UNCLAS WARSAW 002164

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

STATE FOR EUR/NCE TARA ERATH AND MICHAEL SESSUMS
STATE FOR DRL CHRIS CAMPONOVO
STATE PASS TO USAID DCHA/DG LLOYD FEINBERG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL ECON IZ PL
SUBJECT: PROPOSED WARSAW CONFERENCE ON DISABILITIES IN IRAQ
HITS SOME SNAGS

REF: WARSAW 1517

1. (SBU) Summary. The Polish government sent a letter to
USAID Administrator Natsios on April 6 stating that while it
supports the idea of an international conference on Iraqi
disabled issues in principle, it sees many obstacles to
moving ahead with such a conference in Poland at this time
due to lack of funds and impending Polish elections. With
the Polish national government reluctant to begin organizing
the proposed conference, the main U.S. NGO backing the
project is now seeking to interest Polish NGOs, private
Polish businesses, and the Warsaw municipal government in
hosting the event. End summary.

2. (U) On April 27, the Embassy received a courtesy copy of
an April 6 letter the head of the National Fund for the
Rehabilitation of Disabled People (PFRON) sent to
Administrator Natsios of USAID. PFRON is the state agency
that implements Polish laws concerning the disabled. The
head of PFRON, Roman Sroczynski, signed the letter, which his
aide said was cleared by both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and the Ministry of Social Policy.


Begin text of unofficial embassy translation:

April 6, 2005

Dear Mr. Director,

I would like to inform you that on March 30, 2005
consultations were held (initiated by Minister Izabella
Jaruga-Nowacka) regarding the proposal of organizing in
Warsaw a worldwide conference regarding disabled people from
Iraq and their post-conflict situation.

After discussing the complex issues regarding this subject
with Minister Jaruga-Nowacka, I would like to present our
point of view.

The intention and the idea of organizing such a conference in
Warsaw are very positive and need support.

I would like to point out a few obstacles in organizing this
conference here due to some problems we are experiencing.

Firstly, the very slow stabilization process in Iraq should
be taken into consideration. The current government is a
temporary one (until fall of this year). It would be better
to organize this conference after a more stable government (a
new government) is chosen in order to discuss it in all of
its details.

Secondly, there is a lack of obligation from the U.S.
administration and other American NGOs in the area of
financing this conference. I am disappointed by the lack of
a positive response from the American side. I hope that you
will be able to convince the U.S. administration to
financially participate in organizing this conference. The
scale and budget needed for this kind of event should be
taken into consideration.

Thirdly, in the budget for this year, the Polish parliament
did not forecast any financial means for organizing the
conference. This year, presidential, parliamentary, and
senatorial elections will take place. Therefore the budget
can not be changed. I would like to stress that such an
amendment will be possible if the American side will declare
an appropriate amount of financial support in organizing the
conference.

I hope that you will understand our point of view. I do
believe that current difficulties are only temporary and that
this very noble idea of involvement of the international
society in solving the problems of the disabled people in
Iraq will be successfully implemented.

Roman Sroczynski
President

End translation.

3. (SBU) The Ministry of Social Policy privately informed
Post on April 27 that its position has not changed since the
April 6 letter was sent, and that it is reluctant to move
forward with the conference due to the lack of Polish
financial resources and the political uncertainty created by


the upcoming Polish national elections. It believes,
furthermore, that it would be preferable to have a permanent
Iraqi government well in place before such a conference
occurs. As a result, the Ministry of Social Policy does not
currently intend to move ahead with any planning.

4. (SBU) Based on the hesitant Polish government response,
the United States International Council on Disabilities
(USICD), the main U.S. NGO supporting the conference, is now
looking for support from Polish NGOs and businesses. It
believes one possiblity would be for the Warsaw municipal
government to host this conference, but we have had no
indication that the City of Warsaw is interested in
supporting this venture.

5. (SBU) Comment. It appears that the Polish national
government will not be moving ahead with planning this
conference in the foreseeable future. Post will continue to
monitor this issue to inform Washington whether USICD's
attempts to partner with Polish municipal government to
organize the conference are successful. End comment.
ASHE


NNNN

2005WARSAW02164 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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