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Cablegate: Irmo Director's Meetings With

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





E.O. 12958: DECL: N/A

MNF-I FRAGO 05-120

1. Summary. During the period of October 16-25,
IRMO Director Daniel Speckhard met separately with
Ambassadors from the Republic of Korea, Japan,
United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, and Australia. The
IRMO Director briefed the ambassadors on three
initiatives: U.S. plans to establish the first
three Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in
Hilla (Babil), Mosul (Ninewa), and Kirkuk (Tamim);
plans to launch an intensive ministerial capacity
development program; and the planned deferral of
IRRF-funded projects totaling $1 billion. USAID
Deputy Mission Director John Groarke detailed the
creation of Ministerial Assistance Teams (MATs) and
Core Functions Teams (CFTs) as part of the capacity
development program. End summary.

2. On October 16, 2005, Ambassador Khalilzad and
the IRMO Director met with Ki-Ho Chang, Ambassador
of the Republic of Korea, to discuss the prospects
of Korean participation in the Regional
Reconstruction Team (RRT)--the equivalent of a PRT
that is planned to operate in the three northern
Kurdish-majority governorates. Ambassador Chang
noted that the ROK military is planning to vacate a
limited amount of space at its forward operating
base in Irbil and suggested that the future RRT
could use this vacated space. He expressed his
intent to consult with Seoul to determine Seoul's
receptivity to the participation of ROK government
personnel in the RRT.

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3. On October 19, 2005, IRMO Director and IRMO
Acting Senior Consultant for Planning met with
Ambassador Toshiro Suzuki of Japan. IRMO Director
invited Suzuki to join U.S. efforts in building
national and provincial government capacity and to
consider financing deferred IRRF projects. Suzuki
echoed the importance of building ministerial
capacity but explained Tokyo's policy prohibiting
deployment of its civilian employees in Iraq.
Suzuki also noted that no decision has been made by
Tokyo on extending Japan's Self-Defense Force
presence in Samawa; so he cannot comment at this
moment on possible Japanese participation in a PRT.
He stressed the need to secure the buy-in of the
United Nations, World Bank, and donor nations for
these new initiatives. For its part, Japan
recently received a formal request from Baghdad to
launch its $3.5 billion soft loan program, which is
expected to begin by March 2006. In principal,
Suzuki said Japan can consider financing deferred
IRRF projects that the Iraqi government considers
priorities and agreed to a meeting next month in
Amman with Iraqi and U.S. officials to discuss
these projects in greater detail for funding
through the yen loan program.

4. On October 20, 2005, IRMO Director, USAID
Deputy, and IRMO Planning met with Ambassador
William Patey of the United Kingdom. Patey
highlighted the need to ensure that the U.S.
ministerial capacity development initiative be
sufficiently flexible to permit Iraqi buy-in and
other donor participation, especially that of the
United Nations and the World Bank. He noted that,
as U.S. and U.K. reconstruction funds decline, the
role of other donors becomes increasingly
important. He explained that the UK can add value
by using its position within the donor community to
encourage it to pick up more of the reconstruction
costs, and he advised that the U.S. initiative
should rely on existing donor coordination
structures, including the Iraqi Strategic Review
Board (ISRB) and other donor aid programs. Patey
remarked that provincial governance-building
programs such as the PRTs should be coordinated
with federal capacity-building efforts, especially
existing ministerial structures, and offered to
share lessons learned on the U.K. success in
establishing Iraqi-led, regional donor coordination
structures in the four southern governorates. He
also wanted to see how existing structures in MND
South-East, specifically the U.K.-mentored Southern
Iraq Reconstruction and Development Coordination
Group (SIRDCG), could fit into the PRT concept.

5. On October 24, 2005, IRMO Director, USAID
Deputy, MNF-I Rep, and POLOFF briefed Italian
Ambassador de Martino on PRT implementation. IRMO
Director cited the need to improve governance
building within provincial governments and
explained how the plan to build PRTs responds
specifically to the needs of those provincial
governments. De Martino thought the initiative was
well conceived and recognized the need for all
coalition partners to join in this initiative. He
also noted the need for the Iraqi government to
acknowledge and contribute support for the program.
De Martino offered the possibility that the Italian
Government might be interested in playing a role in
the process and requested information about the
possible role of the Italian Embassy on the
National Coordination Team (NCT). He also stated
that the Italian Government might be able to offer
assistance in the training and operations of police
forces. Finally, he suggested that, with the
approval of the Iraqi Government, the Italian
Government may be able to support or lead a PRT in
Dhi Qar Province.

6. On October 24, 2005, IRMO Director, USAID
Deputy, and MNF-I Rep met with Ambassador Ryscard
Kyrstosick of Poland. IRMO Director began the
discussion by describing the initial stages of the
PRT proposal, and the USAID Deputy added that the
national capacity-building effort aims to
strengthen the core functions of the Iraqi
Government. The Polish Ambassador expressed
support for the capacity-building initiative and
inquired whether training outside of Iraq would be
part of the initiative, such as the extant EU rule
of law training program. He welcomed the planned
consultations with the Polish commander in the MND
Center-South region and emphasized the important
role of the PRTs in facilitating communications
between the provinces and the central government, a
key problem area in his view.

7. On October 25, 2005, IRMO Director,
PolMilCouns, USAID Deputy, and IRMO Planning met
with Ambassador Howard Brown of Australia. Brown
supported the PRT's "holistic and integrative
approach to helping Iraq" and believes that
Canberra would consider participating in the
initiative by providing experts to Baghdad.
Although he does not see a near-term prospect of
Australian participation in the PRTs (due to
Canberra's strict policy of prohibiting the
deployment of civilians in the field), he did not
rule out the provision of a military liaison
officer from its current military contingent in
Iraq. Australia would be interested in receiving
information from the PRTs in order to help Canberra
reassess its deployment policy and offer technical
assistance to provincial officials, particularly in
the agriculture sector. Brown was pleased that the
planned MATs would dovetail with other donor
programs, particularly since they would improve
information flows between donor nations. In
response to Brown's observation that some
ministries preferred "Arabists," IRMO Director
noted that the initiative envisions the use of
Iraqi expatriates when possible to deliver
technical assistance to the ministries. Brown
cautiously accepted the IRMO Director's invitation
to join post's weekly Capacity Building Working
Group meeting to help shape the capacity-building
initiative, noting that, due to staff limitations,
Australian participation must be limited.


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