Cablegate: Rrt Erbil: Un Srsg de Mistura Addresses Kurdish


DE RUEHGB #4107 3511803
O 171803Z DEC 07




E.O. 12958: N/A


This is an Erbil Regional Reconstruction Team message.

1. (U) Summary: In a Kurdistan National Assembly (KNA)
session December 17, United Nations Special Representative of
the Secretary General (UN SRSG) Staffan de Mistura presented
UNAMI's proposal for a six-month technical delay of the
Article 140 process and offered UN technical support to serve
as the "engine to accelerate the process." KRG's
representative to the GOI's Article 140 Committee, Mohammed
Ihsan, said the KRG supports the UN proposal, but the KNA
must decide whether or not the proposal is accepted. KNA
Speaker Adnan Mufti concluded the session by calling on KNA
members to meet again December 26 or 27 to decide whether or
not to accept the proposal. End Summary.

2. (U) KRG's representative to the Article 140 Committee,
Mohammed Ihsan, opened the session by noting that the GOI
would still bear the responsibility of finishing the process,
even if the deadline is missed and the UN provides
assistance. He said UNAMI had offered technical support, for
six months only, and the KRG would be willing to accept the
assistance. However, he noted, the KNA must make the
decision on whether or not to accept the UN's proposal, as
Article 140 stipulates that the people must decide the fate
of the disputed areas.

3. (U) UN SRSG Staffan de Mistura began by emphasizing his
experience in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in 1991, and that
he understood the suffering of all Iraqis under Saddam
Hussein's regime. He noted that UN Secretary General Ban
supported the UN's role in Iraq, as evidenced by the UNSCR
1770. He said that although there were "concrete facts and
deadlines" in the constitution, there was no way to organize
a referendum before the end of the year. But, he added, "we
cannot let the process fade away, through constant
postponements." He said he had proposed a six-month
technical delay and UN assistance, in person and in writing,
to the GOI Presidency Council, Prime Minister Maliki, and KRG
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Holding up a UN folder, de
Mistura said the folder contained the letter and also a UN
press release, which demonstrated the UN's public commitment
to Article 140. He said the political leaders mentioned
above had accepted his proposal.

4. (U) De Mistura asked the KNA to "keep Article 140 alive"
and to decide to support his proposal. He said UNAMI would
serve as "the engine that accelerates the process" and would
provide international legitimacy. He admitted that the UN
had often disappointed, and was not a perfect organization.
But, he added, "I was here in 1991, with the UN flag, we were
here with you." He also noted that UN technical support for
the 2005 constitutional referendum had been crucial, and the
referendum had been a success. He said KNA members must
think "with their heart and mind" and that "courage is in
acting rationally."

5. (U) Adnan Mufti, KNA's speaker, responded to de
Mistura's presentation by asking KNA members to mull over a
decision during the Eid al Adha holiday, and return to the
KNA December 26 or 27 to make a decision. (Note: Eid al Adha
is normally a four day holiday, and is due to begin
Wednesday, December 19. Given that the holiday will fall
partially over the week-end, the KRG may announce official
holidays on December 23 and 24. End Note.)

6. (U) Kemal Kerkuki, KNA's deputy speaker concluded the
special session by blaming the GOI for the failure of the
Article 140 process. He said that the GOI had managed to
hold two elections and a referendum since 2003, so why was
the GOI unable to organize a referendum on Article 140? He
said that political groups are against the process, and that
Maliki himself was to blame for Article 140's delay.

7. (SBU) Comment: KRG President Barzani has consistently
stated that the KNA must approve any delay. While the KNA
has no formal legal authority over Article 140, its
endorsement by the KDP, PUK, and smaller parties would
maintain Kurdish unity and shield the KDP and PUK leadership
from criticism. End Comment.

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