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Cablegate: Sofa Unlikely for Australia This Year

O 110604Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY CANBERRA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0657
INFO AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY TALLINN IMMEDIATE
JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

S E C R E T CANBERRA 001258


NOFORN

STATE FOR EAP/ANP, NEA/I, AND S/I

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS AS IZ ES EN RO
SUBJECT: SOFA UNLIKELY FOR AUSTRALIA THIS YEAR

REF: CANBERRA 1231

Classified By: DCM DANIEL A. CLUNE FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D)

1. (S/NF) SUMMARY It is highly unlikely that Australia will
negotiate a SOFA with the Iraqi government before the end of
the year. The Australian Department of Defence (ADOD) is
developing an alternative plan where personnel who work at
the Australian Embassy or Camp Victory will remain in place
and the rest will be redeployed out of Iraq but remain in the
region. END SUMMARY

2. (S/NF) In reftel, dated December 5, Post reported that the
Australian government (GOA), while pessimistic about
achieving a status of forces agreement (SOFA) with Iraq, was
actively exploring options for the continued employment of
imbedded Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel serving in
MNF-I, particularly those whose missions keep them within the
confines of coalition bases. Since then, Chief of the
Defence Force Air Vice Marshall Angus Houston and Deputy
Secretary of Defence for Intelligence Steve Merchant have
told the DATT that it is highly unlikely that Australia will
be able to negotiate a SOFA with the Government of Iraq (GOI)
by the end of the year. The GOI is not willing at this time
to present any more SOFAs to the Council of Ministers for
approval.

3. (S/NF) As a result, ADOD is developing an alternative
plan. All ADF units within the confines of the Australian
Embassy in Baghdad and Camp Victory will remain, since the
personnel at the Embassy could be protected as Administrative
and Technical staff and those at Camp Victory have no need to
go "outside the wire." All other forces, including naval
units, will redeploy to bases outside of Iraq but will remain
in the region and replace American units that could then be
deployed in Iraq.

MCCALLUM

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