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Cablegate: Canadian Views of U.S. Priorities for the New Afghan

VZCZCXRO0983
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHQU RUEHSL
DE RUEHOT #0894 3242134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 202132Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0086
INFO AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS OTTAWA 000894

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM AF CA
SUBJECT: CANADIAN VIEWS OF U.S. PRIORITIES FOR THE NEW AFGHAN
GOVERNMENT

REF: STATE 118297

1. (SBU) Summary. Canada strongly agrees with the U.S.
priorities for the new Afghan government, notably the need for
greater anti-corruption efforts and for greater security,
especially in the south. Canada also calls upon Afghanistan to
implement its international human rights commitments, particularly
related to women's rights. Canada welcomes continued and enhanced
coordination within the international community, particularly as we
together consider new benchmarks for Afghanistan and examine the
possibilities for one or two international conferences on
Afghanistan in the coming months. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In response to reftel demarche by PolMinCouns to
Director General Renetta Siemens of the Afghanistan Task Force in
the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
on November 17, Director of Policy and Advocacy Adrian Norfolk of
the Afghanistan Task Force followed up on November 20 with
substantive comments. He confirmed that the Canadian Embassy in
Kabul had already conveyed a similar message to President Karzai.
He expressed the hope to continue to work closely with the U.S. and
other international partners in Kabul to deliver "clear,
consistent, and coordinated messaging." Canada hopes that the
UN will take a leadership role in delivering to the new Afghan
administration the expectations of the international community, he
commented, and that the new Afghan administration sets "clear,
realistic goals for the next five years." Norfolk expressed
satisfaction with the key themes of President Karzai's inauguration
speech, but stressed the importance now of elaborating "realistic
and concrete plans to achieve these goals" - with the support of
the international community.

2. (SBU) According to Norfolk, Canada strongly agreed with the
U.S. that the new Afghan government's first priority would have to
be "immediate, visible, and meaningful action to combat
corruption," as well as to "elaborate a strategy" to combat its
underlying causes. He emphasized the importance that
anti-corruption efforts be "Afghan-led" and have the "buy-in from
the Afghan government." He observed that "Afghans deserve
competent and accountable leaders at all levels of government."
Canada also agreed with the U.S. that security is the "most
immediate challenge facing Afghanistan," especially in the south
where Canadian Forces are located. Canada wants to see the
strengthening and enlargement of the Afghan National Army and
Afghan National Police, while also calling on the Afghan government
to focus additionally on reconciliation through a "unified,
Afghan-led reintegration of mid-and low-level insurgents." He
noted the continued importance of economic development for
long-term stability, and highlighted Canadian investments to date,
especially in education, eradication of polio, and the
rehabilitation of the Dahla Dam - Canada's three "signature
projects."

3. (SBU) Norfolk cited a few other priorities that Canada hopes
the international community will convey to the new government in
Afghanistan, most notably the importance of implementing
Afghanistan's international human rights commitments, especially
women's rights - which are "fundamental" to sustainable
development. He expressed agreement with the UN and the UK on the
importance also of Afghanistan building strong and constructive
relationships with its neighboring countries.

4. (SBU) Norfolk called for the international community to be
prepared to respond to the announcement of the new Afghan cabinet.
He said that Canada would welcome U.S. views on whether there
should be one, or two, conferences in Kabul or elsewhere in the
near-term. He expressed interest in the U.S. call for benchmarks,
and welcomed further consultations within the international
community on which ones as well as their anticipated timeframes.
He added that DFAIT had already instructed its team in Kabul to be
in close contact with the U.S. and other allied embassies in Kabul,
as well as the UN mission, to ensure further "cooperation and
coordination."
JACOBSON

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