138466 1/24/2008 12:48 08BUCHAREST57 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL 08STATE4865 VZCZCXRO0217 OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK DE RUEHBM #0057 0241248 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 241248Z JAN 08 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7808 INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L BUCHAREST 000057
STATE FOR EUR/NCE A. JENSEN AND NEA/I S. EPSTEIN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/22/2018 TAGS: PREL, MARR, MOPS, IZ, RO SUBJECT: SECOND SURVEY OF IRAQ DEPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS: ROMANIA
REF: A. STATE 04865
B. BUCHAREST 0052 C. BUCHAREST 0041 D. STATE 2310 E. 07 BUCHAREST 1317 F. 07 STATE 159862 G. 07 BUCHAREST 1244 H. 07 STATE 150164
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Mark A. Taplin; Reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
1. (C) Emboffs raised Ref. A points with newly-installed MFA Director for Middle East and Africa, Mihail Dobre, who was accompanied by the (also) new Iraqi desk officer. Dobre offered an initial response--with appropriate caveats--regarding the political situation (Romania is in an extensive election cycle that will not be completed until 2009), and decisions yet to be made by senior officials). He did state that Romania would stay in Iraq as long as Iraq requests Romania's support to ensure a stable and secure political environment that contributes to the Iraqi government's ability to rule. He pointed out that the GOR will set the numbers for Romania's troops deployed in Iraq through the normal process--in this case is determined by the Supreme Council for National Defense (CSAT)--but he would assume continuity and that any changes in policy would be coordinated in close cooperation with coalition allies.
2. (C) In the absence of a Security Council resolution, Dobre noted, the political and legal conditions for Romania's continued participation in Iraq would "remain in conformity with international law." Dobre added that he would raise with senior officials the prospect of being a third party in a bilateral arrangement, but that possibility would likely be determined by MOD, which presumably would initiate the recommendation for continuing Iraq deployments with the CSAT and the Parliamentary authorities. ARMATT noted the efficiencies gained from working off a single defense cooperation agreement. Dobre took the point, and emphasized that the baseline is that there is a convergence in U.S.-Romanian views on Iraq, "and that will not change." Nonetheless, Dobre pointed out that the political context for maintaining "continuity" was not perfect, and that the GOR and Parliament will need a strong legal basis to move forward. He appreciated that the U.S. was sensitive to domestic Romanian conditions, and noted that there were those in Parliament who have their own views. He reiterated, however, that the MFA does not expect a political shift, that the close relationship between Iraq and the allies is the starting point, and ultimately, there have been no indications of anything other than strong parliamentary support for the coalition's actions.
3. (C) Comment: Dobre's response is preliminary but consistent with our continuing dialogue with GOR on Iraq. One interesting note, however, is that MOD State Secretary (and Deputy Defense Minister) Dobritiou called in our ODC Chief at the beginning of this week to "walk back" much of the January 18 comments (reported Ref B.) made by Defense Minister Melescanu regarding a possible timetable for the withdrawal of Iraqi troops. While the sentiment may be there in principle, the timing apparently is not. We expect the GOR to be measured--and to consult with coalition partners (Dobre mentioned the upcoming Quad)--as it considers the future participation of Romanian forces in Iraq along the lines described by Dobre. Melescanu does have a reputation of making impromptu statements that may not perfectly mirror an agreed GOR position. End Comment. TAUBMAN