Cablegate: Sigir Stuart Bowen's Pd Program in France, Nov 20 - 22,
Lucia A Keegan 11/29/2006 09:31:29 AM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan
UNCLAS PARIS 07567
INFO: ARS DCM AMB POL
CLEARED: CAO:LMARGIOU; POL:GRECINOS; LILLE:JHAWKINS
RR RUEHC RUEHZL RUEKJCS RUEHGB
DE RUEHFR #7567/01 3321405
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281405Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3402
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0540
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 007567
STATE FOR EUR/PPD
SECDEF FOR OSD
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KPAO KDEM IZ FR
SUBJECT: SIGIR Stuart Bowen's PD Program in France, Nov 20 - 22,
1. SUMMARY: The Embassy's Public Affairs Section (PAS) took
advantage of the visit to France of Special Inspector General for
Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) Stuart Bowen, November 20-22, 2006, to
program him as a "target of opportunity" speaker in both Paris and
Lille. Presenting updated information from the most recent SIGIR
Quarterly Report to the U.S. Congress, Mr. Bowen described for both
French military and media audiences the work of SIGIR's auditors,
inspectors and investigators, highlighting the challenges they face
providing fiscal oversight of U.S.-led reconstruction in Iraq. Mr.
Bowen's three-day schedule in France was organized by PAS to give
senior French military and civilian officials, as well as
journalists and European diplomats, a better understanding of U.S.
reconstruction policy in Iraq. Mr. Bowen's presentations combined
hard data, informed analysis and personal experience with great
effectiveness. His remarks were well-received, with his
interlocutors reporting him to be credible, objective and willing to
acknowledge reconstruction problems that need to be and are being
addressed, such as unsatisfactory performance by some contractors.
While in Paris, Mr. Bowen also met with the Ambassador and briefed
Embassy officers. END SUMMARY.
2. His three-day program included "off-the-record" talks with
members of the Forces Employment Doctrine Center (CDEF), a think
tank attached to the Ministry of Defense, military officers
stationed at the French Army Land Forces Command (CFAT), opinion
leaders members of the Forum du Futur (a non-partisan organization
of opinion leaders) and European delegates members of the political
committee of the Assembly of the Western European Union. He also
met with French journalists, the Ambassador to France and political
officers at the Embassy.
3. On November 20, Stuart Bowen had a private meeting with General
Desportes, the Director of the Forces Employment Doctrine Center
(CDEF), a think tank attached to the Ministry of Defense. He
presented to CDEF members material from the two "lessons learned"
reports published by SIGIR in 2006, which cover lessons in human
capital management and in contracting and procurement. Mr. Bowen's
contribution to the work of CDEF was seen in one of the
participant's reaction: "The French military doctrine is making
progress through U.S. difficulties in Iraq."
Traveling to Lille in the afternoon, he participated in a
closed-door briefing to senior officers of the French Army Land
Forces Command (CFAT). The meeting, hosted by CFAT Chief of Staff
Gen Lafontaine, included two other general officers, and several
colonels on the CFAT staff. Mr. Bowen, with APP Lille Consul, led a
free-ranging and frank discussion of the work of the Inspector
General, progress in U.S.-led reconstruction efforts, and the
current situation in Iraq.
4. On November 21, Mr. Bowen spoke, off-the-record, at a breakfast
organized by the Forum du Futur, a non-partisan organization of
opinion leaders, about US reconstruction projects in Iraq and his
determination to ensure accountability and transparency. Mr. Bowen
also suggested that it would be timely for France and other nations
to join U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq, citing the pending
finalization of the International Compact for Iraq. At the
conclusion of the presentation, the president of the Forum du Futur
emphasized that while France had not supported the US intervention
in Iraq, they have great respect for the sacrifices of members of
the U.S. military in Iraq, and their families.
His day concluded with an on-the-record briefing with French
journalists. Mr. Bowen reviewed the current situation in Iraq in
terms of reconstruction programs and operations and his findings on
the use of the IRRF (Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund). He
emphasized the need for Iraqi government ministries to take a more
active role in reconstruction management, and in fighting
corruption. He also noted that SIGIR's emphasis in coming months
will be to assess projects that have been completed to determine if
they are meeting the needs for which they were developed.
Throughout his appearances, he stressed the difficulties posed by
the violence in Iraq, and the need for more effort in developing
"rule of law" programs. ("support from France would be ` propos".)
5. A Western European Union political officer attending the Forum
du Futur's meeting, arranged an invitation for Mr. Bowen to make
remarks for European Parliamentarians attending the Political
Committee of the Assembly of the Western European Union in Paris on
November 22. Delegates expressed appreciation for the perspectives
offered by Mr. Bowen.
6. During his visit in Paris, Mr. Bowen also met with Ambassador
Craig Stapleton and Embassy officers.
7. This cable was cleared by Jim Mitchell, Assistant Inspector
General for Congressional & Public Affairs to the Special Inspector
General for Iraq Reconstruction, before his departure from Paris.