183530 12/17/2008 18:13 08STATE132140 Secretary of State CONFIDENTIAL 08BAGHDAD3940 VZCZCXRO8859 OO RUEHBC DE RUEHC #2140/01 3521821 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O P 171813Z DEC 08 FM SECSTATE WASHDC TO RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST IMMEDIATE 0471 RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA IMMEDIATE 3183 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 1262 RUEHSN/AMEMBASSY SAN SALVADOR IMMEDIATE 1966 RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN IMMEDIATE 6719 RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 2825 INFO RUEHBC/REO BASRAH PRIORITY 2236 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHMFISS/USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 4221 C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 STATE 132140
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/25/2018 TAGS: AS, EN, ES, IZ, MARR, MOPS, PGOV, PREL, UK, RO, NATO SUBJECT: ACTION FOR CONTINUING IRAQI COALITION EMBASSIES
REF: BAGHDAD 03940
Classified By: NEA DAS Richard J. Schmierer for reasons 1.4 b and d.
1. (C) Department requests Embassies Bucharest, San Salvador, and Tallinn, along with USNATO, share the text in para. four with host governments and NATO soonest to determine whether the formulation meets those governments'/NATO's requirements for authorities and protections for their forces in Iraq. If so, posts should urge their hosts to engage with the GOI in order to agree on an implementing exchange of diplomatic notes or letters that would establish the nature and role of their continued presence in Iraq.
Suggested Talking Points
2. (C) Posts may wish to draw on the following points when they approach hosts. Embassies London and Canberra may also use the information in this message, noting that HMG and the GOA have already begun negotiations with the GOI:
- Now that the Iraq-U.S. Security Agreement has been ratified, the GOI is focused on the status of Coalition/NTM-I forces and personnel.
- The U.S. strongly supports the presence of the Romanian, Salvadoran, Estonian and NTM-I contingents in Iraq beyond December 31, 2008.
- The GOI has made it clear that any such continued presence will be in a non-combat capacity.
- The appended draft legislation was approved by the Council of Ministers on December 16 and is now awaiting action by the Council of Representatives.
- Under the draft law, Romania, El Salvador and Estonia must withdraw their contingents from Iraq by July 31, 2009 unless subsequently invited by the GOI to extend their stay.
- NATO Specific: Article 3 of the draft text specifically authorizes an invitation to extend the presence of forces beyond July 31, 2009. PM Maliki has indicated that he intends to request an extension of NTM-I's presence until (at least) December 31, 2009.
- If Romania, El Salvador, Estonia and NATO find that the proposed legislation will provide sufficient legal authorities and protections for their forces' continued presence in Iraq, their governments should immediately engage the GOI on developing an implementing exchange of diplomatic notes or letters, establishing the details of their continued presence in Iraq.
3. (C) The Iraqi Council of Ministers (CoM) approved legislation on December 16 asking for the continued presence of UK, Australian, Romanian, Salvadoran, Estonian and NATO Training Mission Iraq (NTM-I) personnel beyond December 31, 2008. The legislation is now pending Council of Representatives (CoR)action. Three readings are required followed by the signing into law by the Presidency Council, so the draft law will not come into effect for at least another week. The draft law (reftel) will: a) authorize their temporary presence in Iraq until July 31, 2009; b) provides for a concurrent jurisdiction regime, exempting, in part, said forces from Iraqi legal jurisdiction for the period of their temporary presence and exempts forces and personnel from Iraqi taxation; and c) authorizes the GOI to enter into implementing agreements with the governments and parties concerned on the tasks and activities of the respective forces. The UK has agreed in principle to the proposed legislation. Australia has concerns as to whether the legislation would allow it to continue its participation in naval activities in Iraqi waters in protection of Iraqi oil facilities. The GOI has indicated its intention to maintain the current provisions of CPA 17 until the new
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Coaltion Presence Law passes.
Draft Text of Proposed Legislation
4. (U) The following is a verbatim translation of the proposed draft legislation:
The Law for the withdrawal of the forces of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Australia, Romania, Estonia, Salvador, and NATO from Iraq, and the regulation of their activities during their temporary presence in it.
Article 1: The forces of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland are permitted to stay in Iraq to complete the tasks they are given, and for these tasks to end no later than the 31st of May 2009, and to fully withdraw from Iraq no later than the 31st of July 2009.
Article 2: The forces of Australia, Romania, Estonia, Salvador, and NATO are allowed to stay in Iraq to complete the tasks they are given, and for these tasks to end and them to withdraw from Iraq no later than the 31st of July 2009.
Article 3: The government of Iraq can request the forces mentioned in articles 1 and 2 of this Law to withdraw earlier from Iraq, and it can request an extension of the presence of any of these forces beyond the date set for their withdrawal, for purposes of training, technical support and maritime support, exclusively, and as decided by the Government of Iraq.
Article 4: (a) Members of the forces referred to in Articles 1 and 2 of this law and members of the Ministries of Defense of the countries to which those aforementioned forces belong, who are working with those forces, shall be subject to the jurisdiction of Iraq, with the exception of crimes committed by them while on duty which are not committed with intent or do not arise from gross negligence, and with the exception of those committed by them inside agreed facilities and military installations used by them, in which cases they shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the country to which they belong.
(b) The competent authorities of Iraq and those of the respective states mentioned in Articles 1 and 2 shall consult with the purpose of determining whether the exceptions above apply in respect of a specific act.
(c) Custody of an accused member of the forces or Ministry of Defense shall reside with the authorities of the state concerned, and the accused member shall be made available to the Iraqi authorities for the purposes of investigation and trial.
Article 5: The forces mentioned in articles 1 and 2 of this Law are exempt from all taxes and duties that can be imposed on them in Iraq in relation to accomplishing their tasks according to article 6 of this Law, just as members of the aforementioned forces and members of the Ministries of Defense of the countries to which those aforementioned forces belong, who are working with those forces, are exempt from all taxes and duties that can be imposed on the import and re-export of their personal possessions.
Article 6: The tasks and activities of the forces referred to in articles 1 and 2 of this Law and their facilities and military installations during their temporary presence in Iraq are to be specified by the Government of Iraq with the agreement of the governments and parties concerned, providing that these troops do not carry out any operations or military activities within Iraqi land, airspace, and waters without prior approval from the Government of Iraq.
Article 7: The forces mentioned in this Law shall return to the Government of Iraq all camps, facilities, and buildings occupied by them, after their withdrawal, free from any debts or financial burdens.
Article 8: This Law is to be published in the Official Gazette, and will be considered valid from the 1st of January, 2009. End Draft Legislation.
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Due to the continued need for the forces of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Australia, Romania, Estonia, Salvador, and NATO to complete the tasks they are given, and to provide the legal cover for their temporary presence in Iraq, paving the way for their final withdrawal on a date no later than the 31st of July 2009, this Law was legislated.
End Translation of Iraqi Text.
5. (U) In addition to appropriate desks and EUR/RPM, please slug responses for NEA/I. RICE