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Cablegate: Action Request: Greece to U.S.: "Help Us Help You In

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTH #1585 3001736
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 271735Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ATHENS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0911
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0016

UNCLAS ATHENS 001585

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
SCA/A FOR TOM GRAMAGLIA
FOR S/SRAP
FOR F BUREAU
EEB/IFD/ODF FOR ROLAND DEMARCELLUS & RACHEL LEATHAM
USAID/EE FOR BOB ICHORD
USAID/ANE FOR JIM DEVER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON PREL GR EAID AF
SUBJECT: ACTION REQUEST: GREECE TO U.S.: "HELP US HELP YOU IN
AFGHANISTAN!"

REF: A. ATHENS 1331; B. SERIES OF EMAILS TO SCA/A (AUGUST 5-7, 2009)

1. (U) This is an action request; see paragraph 4.

2. (SBU) In a meeting with DepEconCouns and USAID/E&E
representatives on October 22, Ambassador Karafotias, the
Director-General of Hellenic Aid (HA), made a very pointed
request-the latest in a long line of requests-for specific projects
on which the Greeks might work with the U.S. in Afghanistan. While
in the past, HA has said that they had a portion of their 4 million
euro Afghanistan pledge available for such a joint project(s) with
the U.S. (reftels A and B), Ambassador Karafotias indicated to
DepEconCouns and USAID that HA had available as much as 8 million
euros. He expressed once more that Greece really wants to work
with the U.S. in Afghanistan, both to show how Greece supports the
new Administration's foreign policy objectives and also to learn
from a country with more development assistance expertise.
Ambassador Karafotias indicated that they needed information from
the U.S. ASAP, as the money they have available expires at the end
of this year, and HA is not sure what they will have available next
year.

3. (SBU) HA and USAID already are working together in the Balkans,
helping to identify, build capacity, and develop energy efficiency
and renewable energy projects. Ambassador Karafotias and others in
the MFA and HA have indicated several times that they would like to
expand this development cooperation to other countries and
different types of projects. Since the former Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Dora Bakoyannis, met with Secretary Clinton earlier this
year, Post's MFA and HA interlocutors have expressed a desire to
work with the U.S. in Afghanistan on projects in the areas of
health and education, potentially with a focus on women and
children. HA finds partnering or co-funding projects in
Afghanistan with other donors a more efficient use of Greece's
limited funding, since HA does not have a presence on the ground
(not even an embassy), and establishing one would increase their
administrative costs, leaving little leftover for actual program
funding. HA has opted to stop funding trust funds and programs run
by international organizations (including the World Food Program)
because it would like visible credit for its development work
(something on which they can put the Greek version of the USAID
hand-clasp brand). According to Ambassador Karafotias, the GoG
already is cooperating in Afghanistan with the Hungarians on
technical assistance in the agriculture sector and is considering
cooperating with the Canadians on a child vaccination program. The
Greeks have also been approached by Lithuania, the United Kingdom,
and Iceland and are considering co-funding various projects with
each of these countries. Ambassador Karafotias made clear that
their first choice for cooperation and co-funding of projects in
Afghanistan is with the U.S.

4. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST. Post asks Washington to consider the
Greek request to work together in Afghanistan and to provide one or
more projects we can pass to the Greeks. If this is not feasible,
Post asks for a point of contact in Washington with whom the Greeks
can work to develop their plans. Feedback by November 6 would be
appreciated.
Speckhard

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