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Cablegate: Gom Explains Decision On 7th Troop Rotation To

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUM #0554/01 2012321
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 202321Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0143
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0010
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0018
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 0042
RUEHFN/AMEMBASSY FREETOWN 0002
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2358
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5125
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS ULAANBAATAR 000554

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MASS MOPS PREL KPAO MG IZ
SUBJECT: GOM Explains Decision on 7th Troop Rotation to
Iraq

Ulaanbaatar 550 (NOTAL - Available via SIPDIS)

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (U) Summary: In a July 20 meeting, the Foreign
Minister reiterated to Ambassador the Mongolian
government's support for the war on terrorism and its
commitment to remain a member of the coalitions in Iraq
and Afghanistan. He said that there had been no
opposition in the Cabinet to a seventh rotation of
troops to Iraq, but that technical and financial
factors -- limited numbers of trained troops and
peacekeeping obligations elsewhere -- had required
Mongolia to reduce its commitment to Iraq to a few
officers, with the details yet to be determined. The
Ambassador urged Mongolia to consider a press release
to correct any impression it was withdrawing
completely, as an erroneous newspaper account the day
before had reported. Embassy provides draft press
guidance in para 9. End summary.

2. (U) Reftel reported GOM's decision to send a
seventh rotation of soldiers to Iraq, consisting of a
"small number of command staff officers." The sixth
rotation, whose tour is up in September, consists of
100 soldiers, serving under Polish command in Camp
Echo, performing force protection duties.

3. (SBU) The Ambassador met with Foreign Minister
Enkhbold on July 20. She had wanted to meet with the
Foreign Minister to be able to accurately describe to
Washington the Mongolian decision and the factors that
went into it. She noted she was without instructions,
but stated that she expected Washington would welcome
Mongolia 's decision to send a seventh rotation of
troops to Iraq, albeit at a reduced level. She
expressed regret, however, about the way that the U.S.
had been informed of the decision - nearly two weeks
after the July 7 Cabinet decision had been taken and
only after an erroneous report in a newspaper on July
19 that Mongolia intended to completely withdraw its
military forces from Iraq. She noted that the influx
of high level visitors and government closure for a
week during Naadam (July 10-14) had understandably
preoccupied the GOM, but that given the spirit of our
comprehensive partnership and the importance the U.S.
places on the global war on terrorism, it would have
been preferable for the GOM to respond to our request
and to inform us, even informally, sooner after the
decision was taken.

4. (SBU) The Foreign Minister replied that Washington
should be informed that Mongolia is very interested in
building relations and was taking concrete actions to
demonstrate this. The newspaper story had also
surprised his government, he said, expressing regret
about the delay in notifying the U.S. of the July 7
Cabinet decision. He noted that Mongolia had faced an
unprecedented influx of foreign delegations during the
July 10-14 Naadam holiday, but acknowledged that the
government should have at least informally communicated
its decision earlier.

5. (SBU) The Foreign Minister stated that Mongolia
remains committed to the joint fight against
international terrorism, and supports operations in
Iraq and Afghanistan. At the July 7 Cabinet meeting,
the seventh rotation of troops to Iraq had been
approved in principle, although many details remain to
be worked out about the number of officers to be sent
and their role. Enkhbold said he hopes the U.S.
understands the decision, which was undertaken purely
for technical and financial reasons. He said that
Mongolia had needed its few trained peacekeeping
soldiers for other deployments, and specifically noted
Mongolia 's commitment of 250 troops to the UN war
crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone. However, he
reiterated, Mongolia remains committed to the war
against terrorism and to the Coalition in Iraq.

6. (SBU) In response to the Ambassador's question

whether there had been any opposition to another
deployment on political grounds, Enkhbold replied that
there had not been. However, he said, such opposition
might arise in the future, especially due to concern
about risks faced by Mongolian troops. He said he had
just received information from the Ministry of Defense
that a Mongolian soldier had suffered a concussion two
days ago in an attack on the base where they are
serving, and that a helicopter carrying senior Polish
officers had been shot down.

7. (SBU) The Ambassador asked whether and when the GOM
might announce its decision to send a seventh
rotation. The Foreign Minister responded that the
public might be informed once the decision is
disseminated throughout the Mongolian government, and
once the details of the new deployment are worked out.
The Ambassador noted that, because of the erroneous
press story, there might be questions raised and
suggested that the GOM consider issuing a simple press
statement to the effect that, contrary to press
reports, the GOM would in fact send a seventh rotation,
without going into the details of how many and what
role. The Foreign Minister said he would consider this
idea. (Note: After the meeting, MFA Director General
for the Americas, Middle East and Africa Jambaldorj
said that he personally leaned against a press
announcement. In the past, Mongolia had not announced
decisions to send new deployments, but had given wide
publicity when soldiers were sent off. Issuing a press
statement, he opined, might attract more bad attention
than it would prevent. The Ambassador urged the GOM to
consider issuing a simple statement to clear the air,
to the effect that contrary to erroneous press reports,
the GOM remained committed to the war on terrorism and
would send a seventh rotation to Iraq. She noted that
the U.S., as a matter of course, would prepare
contingency press guidance to that effect and might be
willing to issue a statement in tandem with a Mongolian
statement to that effect.)

8. (SBU) Earlier on July 20, DCM and E/P Chief met
with PM's Foreign Policy Advisor Davaasuren and with
MFA Director General Jambaldorj. Jambaldorj stressed
that the only factor going into the government's
decision was a shortage of peacekeeping soldiers, which
had been particularly affected by the deployment of the
250 soldiers in the second rotation to the UN war
crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone. He added that
Mongolia continues to talk to Turkey about a deployment
of soldiers to Afghanistan under Turkish command at
some point in the future, but said that no government
decision has been made yet. Davaasuren added that,
whenever the subject had come up, Prime Minister
Enkhbold had always been a strong supporter of
continuing Mongolia's military commitment in Iraq.

9. (SBU) The following is the text of proposed press
guidance, which Washington might use if a question is
asked about Mongolia's decision, or that we may issue
here after a GOM press announcement of its decision on
the seventh rotation:

Begin text

The U.S. Government welcomes the Mongolian government's
continued commitment to the people of Iraq as reflected
in its decision to send a seventh rotation of military
personnel to Iraq. Mongolia's participation in
international operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since
2003 has supported reconstruction and peacekeeping
efforts in those nations and made an important
contribution to the global war against terrorism. We
are pleased this contribution will continue.

Experience gained through deployments in Iraq and
Afghanistan have enhanced the capacity of Mongolia's
Armed Forces to participate in international
peacekeeping operations elsewhere, including in Sierra
Leone and Kosovo. These deployments also demonstrate
the success of cooperation between Mongolia and the
United States aimed at increasing the capability of the

Mongolian Armed Forces to take part in peacekeeping
operations around the world.

End text

SLUTZ

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