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Cablegate: Encouraging Economic Development and Stability in Dhi Qar On

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. (U) SUMMARY: On December 12, Ambassador Khalilzad
announced to the Dhi Qar Governor and Provincial Council (PC)
the approval of $7.0 million in assistance for critical
reconstruction projects in the water and electric power sectors
and the building of several new roads. The projects will help
create jobs and stabilize the environment in the province. In
his meetings with local officials and his visits to project
sites managed by the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the
Ambassador emphasized the importance of economic development,
the need for local government to use the powers granted under
the new constitution, and the significance of working with the
Coalition to build government capacity in the province and
throughout Iraq. END SUMMARY.

Visits to Project Sites

2. (U) On December 12, the Ambassador visited the Nasiriyah
Prison project site and the Al Zahra School. Two hundred
construction workers are building the prison with a 1200
prisoner capacity. The Al Zahra school has six classrooms for
elementary students. The Ambassador, REO Staff, and members of
the press also flew over two USACE projects: the Nasiriyah
Maternity and Children's hospital site and the Nasiriyah water
treatment facility. Between 250-300 workers are building the
hospital, and another 600-800 are constructing the water
treatment plant.

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Meeting With Dhi Qar Governor
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. (SBU) During his meeting with Dhi Qar Governor Azziz
Kadhaum Alawan, the Ambassador announced approving the $7.0
million allotment of $7.0 million for projects designated as
priorities by the Dhi Qar Provincial Reconstruction and
Development Council (PRDC). The Ambassador said these projects
will expand the infrastructure and improve the quality of life
in Nasiriyah through the creation of critically needed jobs.

4. (U) The Ambassador underscored both the critical importance
of the December 15 national elections for the stability of Iraq
and the need to encourage all groups to participate in them.
When asked by the Ambassador about clashes that had taken place
between SCIRI and Jaysh Al-Madhi militants in Nasiriyah, the
Governor replied that all the political parties and factions in
the region are working together to ensure a secure environment
for the upcoming elections.

5. (SBU) The Ambassador noted that Dhi Qar has resources such
as oil that have not yet been exploited and an agricultural
potential that can sustain economic growth and create jobs.
Iraq is going through a major transition, he said, but the new
constitution gives much authority to the provinces, which should
help them to pursue economic development. The Ambassador
informed the governor that the U.S. Embassy will be standing up
Provincial Reconstruction Teams to help the provincial
authorities establish budgets and economic development plans to
address the needs of the people. The Governor welcomed this
initiative and said that he would fully support it.

6. (SBU) In his interview with the Italian national TV
station, the Ambassador said that although the United States is
committed to helping rebuild Iraq, ultimately it is the
responsibility of the Iraqi people to rebuild Iraq. The
Ambassador called upon the media to provide a balanced coverage
of events that highlight the success of Iraq's political process.

Dhi Qar PRDC Projects

7. (SBU) In his meeting with Provincial Council (PC) chairman
Ihassan Talib, PC Reconstruction Committee chairman Thajeel
Kareem Aboud, and PC Security Committee chairman Thajeel Kareem
Aboud, the Ambassador again mentioned the reconstruction
projects for Dhi Qar province. The Ambassador remarked that
this funding for roads and water treatment will encourage
economic development and political stability in the province.
Members of the PC raised several proposals including additional
bridges, water treatment and development projects to be funded
in the future. Ambassador instructed PC members to send their
requests to the Basrah REO, who in turn would take appropriate
action. The PC chairman thanked the Ambassador and expressed the
PC's desire to work closely with the USG on future development
initiatives in Dhi Qar.


8. (U) COMMENT: This timely first visit to Dhi Qar by the
Ambassador to reinforce the USG's commitment to economic
development in the South may encourage more Iraqis to become
stakeholders in their own development and democratic processes.
In his discussions with the Governor and the Provincial Council
members, the Ambassador reaffirmed USG willingness to support
development in the province, noting however that primary
responsibility for rebuilding Dhi Qar and using the province's
extensive natural resources for the benefit of the people
squarely falls on the shoulders of the local officials. END

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