182297 12/11/2008 6:04 08CANBERRA1258 Embassy Canberra SECRET//NOFORN 08CANBERRA1231 O 110604Z DEC 08 FM AMEMBASSY CANBERRA TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0657 INFO AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD IMMEDIATE AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST IMMEDIATE AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR IMMEDIATE AMEMBASSY TALLINN IMMEDIATE JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE NSC WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE S E C R E T CANBERRA 001258
STATE FOR EAP/ANP, NEA/I, AND S/I
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/10/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MARR, MOPS, AS, IZ, ES, EN, RO SUBJECT: SOFA UNLIKELY FOR AUSTRALIA THIS YEAR
REF: CANBERRA 1231
Classified By: DCM DANIEL A. CLUNE FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D)
1. (S/NF) SUMMARY It is highly unlikely that Australia will negotiate a SOFA with the Iraqi government before the end of the year. The Australian Department of Defence (ADOD) is developing an alternative plan where personnel who work at the Australian Embassy or Camp Victory will remain in place and the rest will be redeployed out of Iraq but remain in the region. END SUMMARY
2. (S/NF) In reftel, dated December 5, Post reported that the Australian government (GOA), while pessimistic about achieving a status of forces agreement (SOFA) with Iraq, was actively exploring options for the continued employment of imbedded Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel serving in MNF-I, particularly those whose missions keep them within the confines of coalition bases. Since then, Chief of the Defence Force Air Vice Marshall Angus Houston and Deputy Secretary of Defence for Intelligence Steve Merchant have told the DATT that it is highly unlikely that Australia will be able to negotiate a SOFA with the Government of Iraq (GOI) by the end of the year. The GOI is not willing at this time to present any more SOFAs to the Council of Ministers for approval.
3. (S/NF) As a result, ADOD is developing an alternative plan. All ADF units within the confines of the Australian Embassy in Baghdad and Camp Victory will remain, since the personnel at the Embassy could be protected as Administrative and Technical staff and those at Camp Victory have no need to go "outside the wire." All other forces, including naval units, will redeploy to bases outside of Iraq but will remain in the region and replace American units that could then be deployed in Iraq.