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Cablegate: Urgent Demarche to Goa

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #8040 3392140
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 042134Z DEC 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0000
RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 0000
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0000
RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR PRIORITY 0000
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN PRIORITY 0000

S E C R E T STATE 128040

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/03/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR MOPS IZ ES RO AS EN
SUBJECT: URGENT DEMARCHE TO GOA

REF: BAGHDAD 03794

Classified By: DAS G Davies for reasons 1.4 b and d

Summary
-------

1. (S) Department requests that Embassy Canberra demarche
the Australian Government on the way forward in the GOA's
negotiations with the Government of Iraq on an agreement
to permit Australian forces to remain in Iraq after the
expiration of the UNSCR 1790 mandate for the multinational
force. Please report GOA response, in particular any
indication that the GOA will communicate with its mission
in Baghdad. Info addressee posts should feel free to use
points below as the basis of their own approaches to host
government on this issue. Please slug replies for EAP/ANP,
NEA/I, and S/I. End Summary.

Background
----------

2. (S) As the GOI moves beyond the process of gaining
agreement for the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement, it
is focusing on the terms for the continued presence of
four Coalition partners (Australia, Romania, El Salvador
and Estonia) beyond December 31. (The British are engaging
with the GOI at the highest level and have made
significant progress on a mechanism to permit them to stay
in Iraq.) Regarding the other four, the GOI made clear its
conditions for agreement: 1) that the Government will not
present any more security agreements to the Council of
Representatives (COR) and 2) that the forces of the four
must conduct non-combat missions. The GOI is pressing for
the simplest exchange of letters or diplomatic notes or
signed MOUs to permit continued operations.

3. (S) The Australians have a high-level team in Baghdad
and are working with the GOI but to date remain
convinced that they need an agreement that would require
COR approval. Given the importance of the Australian
staff officers to MNF-I operations in Iraq, it would be
most helpful for Embassy Canberra to press the GOA to
look for a mechanism short of COR ratification to allow
the continued presence of its military officers.

Points
--------

4. (S/REL AS EN ES RO UK) Department suggests that the
demarche be based on the following points:

--Now that the U.S. has concluded its complex
negotiations with the GOI for a bilateral security
agreement, the GOI is focused on negotiating terms to
allow Coalition partners to remain in Iraq.

--The U.S. strongly supports the presence of Australian
staff officers in MNF-I beyond January 1, 2009 and
Australia's other significant contributions to Operation
Iraqi Freedom.

--The GOI has made it clear that Australia's continued
presence will be in a non-combat assistance capacity.

--PM al-Maliki has stated that he will not present any
other bilateral security agreements to the COR.

--Canberra should explore whether there are other
mechanisms that would allow Iraq to conclude a legally
binding agreement without the approval of the COR. Such
arrangements or agreement could be in the form of an
exchange of diplomatic notes or a MOU, and draw upon
relevant provisions in the U.S. Security Agreement with
Iraq in order to establish a basis for the continued
presence of Australian officers in Iraq.

Additional Point As Appropriate
-------------------------------
5. If this remains an issue: We understand that the GOA
wishes to include its combat forces in TF158 in its
bilateral agreement. We recommend that this be addressed
separately given the GOI's position against combat
missions for coalition forces and that the GOA focus on
a security agreement covering the Australian staff
officers embedded with MNF-I only.

Reporting Deadline
------------------

6. Embassy should report results of efforts by cable to
the Department before December 12.

7. Please contact EAP/ANP's Aleisha Woodward or NEA/I's
Shaun Mandelkorn for any necessary further background
information or argumentation to meet our objectives.
RICE

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