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Cablegate: Pm Brown Outlines Plans for January 28 London Afghanistan Conference

VZCZCXRO6558
PP RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHLO #2816/01 3491434
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151434Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4428
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 002816

NOFORN SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL SOCI MARR MOPS AF PK UK SNAR NATO

SUBJECT: PM BROWN OUTLINES PLANS FOR JANUARY 28 LONDON AFGHANISTAN CONFERENCE REF: LONDON 2774 (NOTAL)

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Greg Berry for reasons 1.4 b and d

1. (C/NF) Summary. In December 14 remarks to the House of Commons, Prime Minister Brown outlined HMG's plans for the January 28 London Conference on Afghanistan. A key Conference goal is to "set out an outline program for the transfer of lead responsibility from Coalition to Afghan forces." The Conference should also "secure international support and financial backing for an Afghan-led resettlement and reintegration program." Brown asserted that as President "Karzai takes forward his action against corruption, London must provide comprehensive long-term support to the Afghan economy." The Conference should "address the role of coordinating international efforts in Afghanistan - reaffirming the role of the United Nations, announcing the new Special Representative of the Secretary General, and stronger civilian coordination in ISAF." Brown affirmed the nexus between British national security and the UK's continued engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, noting that both countries are "at the epicenter of global terrorism." Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officers confirmed to Poloff that key themes for the conference are security, governance (including corruption), economic and social development, the regional framework, and reconciliation and reintegration. They also confirmed that the Afghans have complained about reconciliation and reintegration and corruption being on the agenda, but predicted that the Afghans would "go along" with the proposed agenda, despite "tough feedback." Conference organizers candidly acknowledge that Conference planning is in its early stages, and still a work in progress, but they stress that they want the Conference to be "a joint UK-Afghanistan effort." End Summary. On the Agenda -------------

2. (SBU) Speaking before the House of Commons on December 14, Prime Minister Brown outlined HMG's plans for the January 28 London Conference on Afghanistan. Brown asserted that 68 delegations would attend the Conference, including all 43 ISAF members. He said that President Karzai and he agree that the Conference will deliver a new commitment between Afghanistan and the international community. (Note: Brown addressed the Commons following a weekend trip to Afghanistan in which he met with British troops. He also confirmed a range of measures totaling GBP 150 million over three years aimed at reducing casualties from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). End Note.)

3.(SBU) Brown said that security will be a key element at the Conference, expressing his expectation that in the run- up to the Conference nations would announce troop deployments "building on the total of 140,000 troops promised for 2010." He expressed hope that the Conference "will be able to set out the next steps in a longer-term plan -- the balance between Alliance forces and Afghan forces." The Conference must "set out an outline program for the transfer of lead responsibility from Coalition to Afghan forces...I hope we can agree in London that this process can begin -- subject to conditions on the ground -- during 2010."

4. (SBU) Brown said the Conference "must secure international support and financial backing for an Afghan-led resettlement and reintegration program." Brown also asserted that as "Karzai takes forward his action against corruption, London must provide comprehensive long term support to the Afghan economy." A core goal is "providing Afghans with credible alternatives to poppy and the insurgency."

5. (SBU) The Conference should "address the role of coordinating international efforts in Afghanistan - reaffirming the role of the United Nations, announcing the new Special Representative of the Secretary General, and stronger civilian coordination in ISAF." The Conference should encourage "a new set of relationships between Afghanistan and its neighbors - and in particular on joint working with Pakistan (sic)." Why We Fight ------------

6. (SBU) As he has done on numerous prior occasions, Brown affirmed the nexus between British national security and the UK's continued engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, noting that both countries are "at the epicenter of global terrorism" and that Britain's "national security interests require us to deny to al Qaeda the space to operate across LONDON 00002816 002 OF 002 Pakistan and also to deny them the option of returning to operate in Afghanistan." Brown directly addressed the role of Pakistan, asserting that "one of the biggest advances of the last year is the increased cooperation with the Pakistani authorities in support of their efforts in the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda." (Note: The full text of Brown's remarks, which address topics other than the Conference, are available at www.number10.gov.uk. End Note.) Still a Work in Progress ------------------------

7. (C/NF) FCO officers confirmed in meetings with Poloff December 11 that key themes for the conference are security, governance (including corruption), economic and social development, the regional framework, and reconciliation and reintegration. They also confirmed that Afghan officials have complained about reconciliation and reintegration and corruption being on the agenda, but predicted that the Afghans would "go along" with the proposed agenda, despite "tough feedback." (See also London 2774 regarding Afghan concerns about the Conference's agenda.) HMG sources stress that the Conference is not envisaged as a pledging event or a force-generation conference (although announcements would be welcome), but as an opportunity for Karzai to demonstrate follow-up from his inaugural address promises and to coordinate international support for Karzai,s agenda. They stress that they want the Conference to be, in the words of one FCO officer, "a joint UK-Afghanistan effort."

8. (SBU/NF) Conference planners told Poloff that the Prime Minister plans to host a dinner for a small group on the evening of the 27th or a breakfast on the 28th. Participants would include President Karzai, PM Gilani, QUAD representatives, the UNSYG and NATO SYG. The organizers candidly acknowledge that Conference planning is in its early stages, and still a work in progress. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
Susman

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