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Cablegate: Canada Committed to Moving Forward On Kabul Agenda

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

UNCLAS OTTAWA 003347

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PREL EAID CA AF
SUBJECT: CANADA COMMITTED TO MOVING FORWARD ON KABUL AGENDA

REF: SECSTATE 203820

1. (U) Polmiloff delivered reftel points on November 8 to
Foreign Affairs Canada desk officers Pamela Isfeld in the
Peacekeeping and Peace Operations group (IRP) and Richard
Arbeiter, senior policy advisor in the South Asia division.
Both welcomed USG views on the Kabul Agenda and re-affirmed
Canada's commitment to moving the Agenda forward. They
appreciated our recognition of the Canadian paper and said
that the Afghan government had been very responsive to the
Canadian proposal.

2. (SBU) Arbeiter, a principal drafter of the non-paper,
elaborated some of the key motivations behind Canada's own
desire for a monitoring mechanism to oversee the
reconstruction process, including:
-- the need for greater accountability, not just on the
Afghan side of the equation, but with regard to donor pledges
and commitments (i..e. donor follow-through) and to maintain
integrity in "how" donor support is implemented;
-- the need for coherence among the "many moving parts" on
the ground in Afghanistan;
-- the need to record progress (or lack thereof) and report
to the Afghan people on where matters stand.

3. (SBU) Arbeiter welcomed the proposal for a senior UN
official to co-chair a donors' Steering Group. At the same
time he cautioned that it was important not to get "too far
ahead" of the process on the ground in crafting the mechanism
for oversight of the reconstruction process. Canada had
heard, for example, that some Afghanis had complained about
something as basic as nomenclature, preferring the name
"Afghanistan Agenda" to the more capital-centric "Kabul
Agenda." The Afghan leadership component was essential, he
said. The relationship between the Steering Group and its
Afghan partners would be an important consideration as well.
Similarly, Arbeiter continued, some thought should be given
to regional actors (groups and/or countries) that would have
a stake in policies initiated by the Group. For example,
Central Asian countries like Pakistan would be affected by
counter-narcotics policy in Afghanistan; other countries in
the neighborhood should be consulted, if not involved, in the
evolution of "trade arrangements" and infrastructure-related
initiatives, such as power grids.

4. (SBU) On the need for stronger financial commitments,
Arbeiter said that a number of key donors did not want the
January 30-31 London conference to be headlined as a
"pledging conference." For one thing, there was concern that
some countries might feel pressured to make pledges that
wouldn't be followed-through. He and Isfeld said this was
partly due to the different fiscal cycles of major donors.
Canada, for example, would be in the latter stages of its
fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) as well as facing the
possibility of elections being called for January, which
would tend to "politicize everything." Another concern,
Arbeiter continued, was that the prior commitments of some
donors still had not been fully realized. The practice of
"multi-year commitments," which varied from country to
country, posed a bit of a challenge, he said. Afghans
desired a clear commitment to the "Afghanistan Agenda."

Visit Canada's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/ottawa

WILKINS

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