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Cablegate: Security Concerns Dominate During Unami/Mnf-I

VZCZCXRO2929
OO RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUCNDT #2242/01 3461641
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 121641Z DEC 06
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0922
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0553
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3// PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5/DDPMAW// PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J5/UNMA// PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITEHOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 002242

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL UNSC PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: SECURITY CONCERNS DOMINATE DURING UNAMI/MNF-I
QUARTERLY BRIEF TO SECURITY COUNCIL

1. (U) Summary: On December 11, UN SRSG for Iraq Ashraf Qazi
and Ambassador Sanders on behalf of MNF-I presented their
quarterly briefings during a public meeting of the Security
Council regarding the situation in Iraq. In his remarks,
Qazi issued a stark warning, saying that the recent quarterly
report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq
(UNAMI) assessed that "Iraq stands on the brink of civil war
and chaos." He helpfully emphasized the need for "active
cooperation" from states in the region as well as the
international community. Both, he argued, have a "real
stake" in Iraq's success. Qazi concluded: "Failure in Iraq is
not an option." He also confirmed that the deteriorating
security situation had led UNAMI to temporarily reduce its
staffing presence in Baghdad.

2. (U) Summary continued: Interventions by Council members
were largely in the same pessimistic vein, although most
expressed clear support for the International Compact and
UNAMI,s role. Many countries also stated explicit support
for the MNF-I,s continued presence. Major exceptions were
France and China, who called for a timeline for MNF-I,s
withdrawal. Russia did not mention MNF-I in its statement.
Iraqi PermRep Hamid Bayati also spoke and urged UNAMI to play
an increased role. A report of briefings by Qazi and
Ambassador Sanders is at paras 3-5, Council reaction is at
paras 6-9, and final comments by Bayati and Qazi are at paras
10-11. End summary.

---------------------------------------------
BRIEFINGS BY SRSG QAZI AND AMBASSADOR SANDERS
---------------------------------------------

3. (U) SRSG Qazi briefed the Council December 11 on UNAMI,s
quarterly report. Saying that "Iraq stands on the brink of
civil war and chaos," Qazi stated that "efforts made by the
Government of Iraq and the Multinational Force have not
prevented a continuous deterioration of the security
situation which, if not reversed, will progressively
undermine Iraq,s political prospects." He listed a number
of initiatives, including meetings sponsored by the Ministry
of National Dialogue and the Baghdad Security Plan, and
concluded that they had been ineffective in controlling
violence. In order to reduce the violence, Qazi said that "a
collective international and regional initiative...is the
only way forward." He therefore supported the SYG,s call
for a regional contact group - "a broader and more inclusive
political approach that involves all the main neighbours of
Iraq, as well as the P5 countries." He also stated that
regional states and the international community should
provide "active cooperation" to Iraq because they have a
"real stake" in Iraq's success, and asserted that "Failure in
Iraq is not an option."

4. (U) Qazi listed a number of issues for which he believed
Iraqi consensus is needed. Among them was "finding a
mutually acceptable way to discuss the future of the MNF-I,s
role as a key component of a national reconciliation
process." He concluded his presentation by vowing that UNAMI
would continue to remain "actively engaged with national,
regional and international actors to help Iraq arrest the
further deterioration of an already critical situation."

5. (U) Ambassador Sanders followed Qazi,s statement with a
briefing on behalf of MNF-I. She noted progress made by the
Iraqi government on its reform agenda, as well as progress
made on the International Compact with Iraq. She also noted
that the security situation causes "grave concern," and that
sectarian violence had increased. Ambassador Sanders
underscored the importance of national reconciliation, MNF-I
support for the Iraqi government as it prepares to assume
full responsibility for the country,s security, and MNF-I
support for a robust UNAMI presence.

------------------
SC MEMBERS RESPOND
------------------

6. (U) SECURITY SITUATION DIRE: All Security Council members
began by commenting on and agreeing with the stark warnings

USUN NEW Y 00002242 002 OF 002


issued by Qazi during his presentation and as outlined in
greater detail in the latest UNAMI report. First to speak
was the French PermRep, who said France was "deeply
concerned" by the increasing violence and the "vast suffering
endured by the Iraqi people." He called for relaunching the
Iraqi political process, restoring Iraqi sovereignty through
a clear withdrawal process for MNF-I, and the support of the
international community and the region, points echoed by the
Chinese PermRep. Russia, Argentina and Greece commented that
the current situation is not working, and that both the
international community and the Government of Iraq need to
reexamine their positions. They and other countries,
including France and China, expressed support for the SYG,s
call for a regional conference. The UK PermRep said the
security situation was serious, and that addressing it is the
top priority of the Government of Iraq and the MNF-I,
comments echoed by Slovakia and Denmark, fellow Council
members and MNF-I contributors.

7. (U) MNF-I SUPPORT: The majority of Council members
expressly supported the work of MNF-I, although there were
notable exceptions. France and China said only that MNF-I
should clearly present a timeline for leaving Iraq, while the
Russian PermRep did not mention MNF-I at all in his
statement.

8. (U) SUPPORT FOR THE COMPACT: Most Council members stated
strong support for the work of the International Compact for
Iraq. China, among other members, said it "fully supported"
the Compact and encouraged the international community to
support the initiative. Only France and Russia did not
mention the Compact in their statements.

9. (U) SUPPORT FOR UNAMI: All Council members warmly thanked
Qazi and UNAMI for their efforts, and said the UN,s efforts
were needed in actively supporting the Compact and national
reconciliation. Several members, including Russia, France
and Qatar, said action was needed to address the growing
refugee problem, and UNAMI,s efforts in this would be
welcome.

------------------------------------
FINAL COMMENTS BY IRAQ AND SRSG QAZI
------------------------------------

10. (U) Iraqi PermRep Bayati took the floor following the SC
statements, and began by stressing that a larger UN presence
is required in Iraq. He acknowledged the "dangerous slide to
the brink of civil war," and attributed this slide to "Saddam
loyalists, extremists (note: he used the Arabic word
"taqfireen" which implies Sunni extremists) and criminal
groups." He agreed with statements by Council members on the
necessity to enlarge the political and national
reconciliation process, and added that the full transfer of
security responsibility from MNF-I to the Iraqi Security
Forces will occur as soon as possible. Bayati ended with a
plea not to view the human rights situation in Iraq
independently of the worsening security context. He stressed
that human rights violations that occur between security
forces and "terrorists and criminal groups" cannot be
compared to the human rights violations that these groups
precipitate upon Iraqi civilians. He concluded that an
improvement in the security situation would result in an
improvement in the human rights situation.

11. (U) Asked for his final thoughts before the session was
gaveled to a close, Qazi emphasized the "debilitating human
cost of the violence" in Iraq, which he termed "among the
worst in the world." He noted that "a lot is expected of
UNAMI" and said UNAMI was ready to help. Nevertheless, he
said that UNAMI had decided to temporarily reduce its
personnel in Baghdad because of security concerns, although
he committed to increasing this number as soon as conditions
improved. Assistance to Iraq, he stated, is "a moral and
strategic imperative that none of us can afford to ignore."
WOLFF

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