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Cablegate: Coalition Forces Essential to Iraq's Rebuilding,

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070726Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3954
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
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RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1957
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RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1347

UNCLAS SINGAPORE 001668

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SOCI ECON ETRD PGOV PTER IR XF IZ SN
SUBJECT: COALITION FORCES ESSENTIAL TO IRAQ'S REBUILDING,
IRAQI DEPUTY MINISTER TELLS SINGAPORE AUDIENCE


1. (U) A premature withdrawal of Coalition forces from Iraq
would harm the situation in Iraq, Iraqi Foreign Ministry
Deputy Minister for Policy Planning, Labeed Majeed ABBAWI
told a Singapore audience on September 6 at a forum on Iraq's
foreign policy. A major goal for the GOI is to convince its
neighbors that the Coalition forces remain in Iraq at the
government's request and should remain until the security
situation becomes more stable. Deputy Minister Abbawi said
the sectarian violence that is so prevalent in news reports
is not as severe at the grass roots level. The overwhelming
majority of Iraqis support national unity and even Kurds now
refer to themselves as "Iraqi Kurds." The GOI is carrying
out a policy of national reconciliation that should lead to a
reduction in sectarian violence. Rifts in the government are
political and not sectarian in nature, he asserted.

2. (U) The GOI seeks to rebuild a society beaten down by
"tyranny and then war." This depends on raising and training
security forces capable of defending Iraq against "all foes."
At the same time, the government has to strengthen the
nation's economy by repairing the infrastructure, lowering
inflation, and creating jobs. Deputy Minister Abbawi
stressed that countries like Singapore could assist in this
process by sharing expertise in capacity building through
training in management and doing business in a free-market
economy. He noted that Iraq would continue to pursue
accession to the World Trade Organization and would work with
the United Nations to implement the Iraqi Compact.

3. (U) Deputy Minister Abbawi discussed the efforts by the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs to re-establish itself. It has
already opened or re-opened missions in 70 countries and
would be up to 86 by the end of the year. Two "emergency"
recruiting drives have added 120 new officers to its
diplomatic corps. 25 countries have hosted these diplomats
for training. An additional 120 new diplomats are being
trained in the new Iraqi Foreign Service Institute.

4. (U) When questioned about Iraq's relationship with Iran,
Deputy Minister Abbawi said the two countries had a difficult
relationship under the Saddam Hussein regime. There is
on-going concern about Iran's interference in Iraq through
the supply of arms and training to militants. However, he
stated that Iran is now more interested in building a close
economic relationship with Iraq and is taking steps to
control the border. When asked about the effect of the 2008
U.S. Presidential election on Iraq, Deputy Minister Abbawi
said he could not "predict the future," but it is clear that
the United States remained committed to a successful Iraq.
He argued that the USG strategy in the Middle East is based
on building strong ties with governments that support
democracy, freedom and human rights -- principles shared by
Iraq. Stability in Iraq will lead to greater stability in
the region, which is in the interest of the United States, he
stated.

Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/singapore/ind ex.cfm
HERBOLD

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