181475 12/4/2008 21:34 08STATE128040 Secretary of State SECRET 08BAGHDAD3794 VZCZCXYZ0003 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHC #8040 3392140 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O P 042134Z DEC 08 FM SECSTATE WASHDC TO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 0000 INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0000 RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 0000 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0000 RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR PRIORITY 0000 RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN PRIORITY 0000 S E C R E T STATE 128040
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/03/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, MOPS, IZ, ES, RO, AS, EN SUBJECT: URGENT DEMARCHE TO GOA
REF: BAGHDAD 03794
Classified By: DAS G Davies for reasons 1.4 b and d
1. (S) Department requests that Embassy Canberra demarche the Australian Government on the way forward in the GOA's negotiations with the Government of Iraq on an agreement to permit Australian forces to remain in Iraq after the expiration of the UNSCR 1790 mandate for the multinational force. Please report GOA response, in particular any indication that the GOA will communicate with its mission in Baghdad. Info addressee posts should feel free to use points below as the basis of their own approaches to host government on this issue. Please slug replies for EAP/ANP, NEA/I, and S/I. End Summary.
2. (S) As the GOI moves beyond the process of gaining agreement for the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement, it is focusing on the terms for the continued presence of four Coalition partners (Australia, Romania, El Salvador and Estonia) beyond December 31. (The British are engaging with the GOI at the highest level and have made significant progress on a mechanism to permit them to stay in Iraq.) Regarding the other four, the GOI made clear its conditions for agreement: 1) that the Government will not present any more security agreements to the Council of Representatives (COR) and 2) that the forces of the four must conduct non-combat missions. The GOI is pressing for the simplest exchange of letters or diplomatic notes or signed MOUs to permit continued operations.
3. (S) The Australians have a high-level team in Baghdad and are working with the GOI but to date remain convinced that they need an agreement that would require COR approval. Given the importance of the Australian staff officers to MNF-I operations in Iraq, it would be most helpful for Embassy Canberra to press the GOA to look for a mechanism short of COR ratification to allow the continued presence of its military officers.
4. (S/REL AS EN ES RO UK) Department suggests that the demarche be based on the following points:
--Now that the U.S. has concluded its complex negotiations with the GOI for a bilateral security agreement, the GOI is focused on negotiating terms to allow Coalition partners to remain in Iraq.
--The U.S. strongly supports the presence of Australian staff officers in MNF-I beyond January 1, 2009 and Australia's other significant contributions to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
--The GOI has made it clear that Australia's continued presence will be in a non-combat assistance capacity.
--PM al-Maliki has stated that he will not present any other bilateral security agreements to the COR.
--Canberra should explore whether there are other mechanisms that would allow Iraq to conclude a legally binding agreement without the approval of the COR. Such arrangements or agreement could be in the form of an exchange of diplomatic notes or a MOU, and draw upon relevant provisions in the U.S. Security Agreement with Iraq in order to establish a basis for the continued presence of Australian officers in Iraq.
Additional Point As Appropriate
5. If this remains an issue: We understand that the GOA wishes to include its combat forces in TF158 in its bilateral agreement. We recommend that this be addressed separately given the GOI's position against combat missions for coalition forces and that the GOA focus on a security agreement covering the Australian staff officers embedded with MNF-I only.
6. Embassy should report results of efforts by cable to the Department before December 12.
7. Please contact EAP/ANP's Aleisha Woodward or NEA/I's Shaun Mandelkorn for any necessary further background information or argumentation to meet our objectives. RICE