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Cablegate: Osce/Odihr Recommits Election Support Team To

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6657
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RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY 0101
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USOSCE 000233

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SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: OSCE/ODIHR RECOMMITS ELECTION SUPPORT TEAM TO
AFGHANISTAN

USOSCE 00000233 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: The OSCE Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) expects to deploy a
seven-person election support team to Afghanistan in advance
of the November 7 second-round presidential elections. The
team will follow final election preparations, election day
proceedings, and post-election procedures. While smaller
than the 20-person team deployed for the August 20
presidential and Provincial Council elections, the team
demonstrates the OSCE's continued commitment to free and fair
elections and reflects our desire for the organization to do
more in Afghanistan, an OSCE Partner state. The text of the
April 2, 2009, OSCE Permanent Council decision authorizing
the election support team to Afghanistan is in paragraph 6.
End summary.

2. (SBU) Building on past election-related activities in
Afghanistan, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and
Human Rights (ODIHR) expects to deploy a seven-person
election support team (EST) to Afghanistan to assist with the
November 7 second-round presidential elections. The team
will be in-country for approximately three weeks - arriving
one week before the elections and staying approximately two
weeks after - and will focus on election administration and
the results process, in addition to working closely with
domestic observer groups and international actors. ODIHR
will provide recommendations for strengthening future
election processes in a report published several weeks after
the elections. Recommendations likely will focus on how to
build sustainable structures for election organization, how
to further improve the voter registration system, how to
strengthen domestic observation, and how to create a stronger
legal framework for elections.

3. (SBU) ODIHR's seven-person team will include two experts
who have been in Afghanistan following the post-August 20
audit process. The two have reported that Afghanistan's
Independent Election Commission currently is reviewing a
working paper prepared by ODIHR in late August to provide
recommendations for a possible second-round presidential
election.

4. (SBU) ODIHR believes this small team is well suited to the
situation, and has argued against a larger body. ODIHR
election experts note that the short time-frame makes it
almost impossible to organize a larger deployment -
particularly given security and logistical requirements - and
point out that there is insufficient time to comply with OSCE
regulations governing the recruiting and hiring of new staff.
(Some of the 20 experts who were part of the August team are
unavailable or do not want to return to Afghanistan.) They
also note that newcomers would provide very little added
value given their lack of familiarity with the situation, and
could worsen the security burden. In addition, ODIHR experts
note that this team, in contrast to the August group, will
not deploy to the field, and thus has no need for additional
support.

5. (SBU) Comment: While smaller than the 20-person team
deployed for the August 20 presidential and Provincial
Council elections, ODIHR's seven-person team demonstrates the
OSCE's continued commitment to free and fair elections and
reflects our desire for the organization to do more in
Afghanistan, an OSCE Partner state. ODIHR involvement
underscores the importance of democratic elections for
furthering democracy, human rights, and security in
Afghanistan, and complements the USG goal of helping Afghan
election authorities conclude a credible election process.
We will work closely with ODIHR both before and after the
November 7 elections to ensure the deployment proceeds as
smoothly as possible. End comment.

6. (U) Begin text:

DECISION NO. 891
ELECTION SUPPORT TEAM TO AFGHANISTAN

The Permanent Council,

Recalling the UN Security Council resolution 1868 (2009),
which underscores the importance of the upcoming presidential
and provincial council elections to Afghanistan's democratic
development and which calls for all efforts to be made to
ensure the credibility, safety and security of the elections
and for members of the international community to provide the
necessary assistance,

USOSCE 00000233 002.2 OF 002

Taking note of the letter by the Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Dr. Rangin Dadfar
Spanta, to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office of 22 February
2009, inviting the OSCE to support the Presidential and
Provincial Council elections in Afghanistan,

Taking into consideration the status of Afghanistan as a
Partner for Co-operation of the OSCE, which has an important
impact also on neighbouring regions of the OSCE,

Underscoring the importance of democratic elections for
fostering democracy and human rights and for furthering
stability in Afghanistan, and contributing to international
efforts to combat terrorism,

Taking note of Permanent Council Decision No. 622 of 29 July
2004 on sending an OSCE Election Support Team for the
Presidential elections in Afghanistan on 9 October 2004 and
the recommendations issued by that Support Team on 18 October
2004,

Taking note of Permanent Council Decision No. 686 of 7 July
2005 on sending an OSCE Election Support Team for the
National Assembly and Provincial elections in Afghanistan on
18 September 2005 and the recommendations issued by that
Support Team on 6 October 2005,

Taking into account conditions in Afghanistan, in particular
the security situation,

Decides, as an extraordinary measure, in response to the
specific request of the Government of Afghanistan, to send an
election support team to be organised by ODIHR to assist
government and international efforts on the Presidential and
Provincial Council elections in Afghanistan scheduled for
August 2009;

Tasks the election support team to prepare a report, to be
distributed to participating States, on the electoral
process, based on its findings, including a set of
recommendations to the Government of Afghanistan for
implementation as appropriate in the post-election period,
with a view to enhancing the conduct of future elections and
improving Afghanistan's legal framework and procedures;

Requests that the ODIHR closely co-ordinate with
international and regional election monitoring and support
missions in Afghanistan, including the United Nations
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the European
Union Observation Mission;

Tasks the ODIHR to determine the appropriate size of the
election support team, which is not to exceed 50 election
staff;

Tasks the Secretariat together with the ODIHR to conduct
consultations with the Government of Afghanistan,
international military forces and international actors,
including the United Nations, in order to spell out clearly
in the appropriate form and put in place the necessary
security arrangements for the election support team;

Expenses for the election support team will be covered by
extrabudgetary contributions;

This decision does not set a precedent for OSCE activities
beyond its geographical area of responsibility.
CHRISTENSEN

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