161150 7/8/2008 11:59 08BAGHDAD2121 Embassy Baghdad CONFIDENTIAL 08STATE62029 VZCZCXRO1813 PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK DE RUEHGB #2121 1901159 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 081159Z JUL 08 FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0736 RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8205 INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST 0029 RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0036 RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI 0024 RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0737 RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1930 RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 002121
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/01/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MOPS, MASS, MARR, UNSC, IZ SUBJECT: POST-MNF-I SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS FOR UNAMI
REF: STATE 062029
Classified By: PolMil Minister Counselor Marcie B. Ries for reasons 1.4 b. and d.
1. (C/REL MCF-I UN) Summary: Pursuant to reftel, EmbOffs and MNF-I officers met June 26 with UNAMI staff to discuss modalities for providing security to UNAMI if UNSCR 1790 expires on December 31, 2008. A follow-up meeting took place July 1. We heard that the maintenance of U.S.-led security is critical for UNAMI's continued presence and operation in Iraq and that extending the current agreement, or its essential elements, would be best. SRSG de Mistura stated that a joint approach to the GOI subsequent to Embassy/MNF-I discussions with UNAMI (as instructed in reftel) would not be desirable at this time. On timing, UNAMI Sr. Political Advisor Gerard Sembrana opined that discussions in Baghdad should be deferred until after the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement is signed. End Summary.
2. (C/REL MCF-I UN) In the initial meeting, UNAMI Chief of Staff Siddarth Chatterjee stressed the critical nature of U.S.-provided security, noting that even the hint that the security provisions now in place might be reduced would have a devastating impact on morale and recruitment of UNAMI staff. He underlined the importance of security support services (access to Combat Surgical Hospitals, quick response forces, etc.) that are now provided. Chatterjee and other UNAMI staff suggested that the easiest way to provide security needed would be for the UN and the GOI to sign an agreement recognizing U.S. forces as the successor to MNF-I and concurring with the UN's selection of the U.S. and affiliated forces to provide security. If the current agreement could not be rolled over in some way, Chatterjee insisted that a similarly "robust and flexible" agreement would be needed.
3. (C/REL MCF-I UN) At the subsequent July 1 meeting, SRSG Staffan de Mistura dropped in. He pointed out that "we expect that as UNAMI expands its footprint, the U.S. will be shrinking its footprint." He noted the importance of balancing forces in this transition so that UNAMI's personnel remain secure. He also reinforced Chatterjee's point of the criticality of U.S.-led security (and enablers) for UNAMI. The SRSG also noted that the GOI was very sensitive about UNAMI's activities in Iraq; it therefore would be counter-productive for UNAMI to be seen as representing U.S. interests or aspirations. This is particularly true as GOI asserts its sovereignty everywhere it can.
4. (C/REL MCF-I UN) Chatterjee and UNAMI Sr. Political Advisor Gerard Sembrana felt that, given the SRSG's comments, we should not repeat not pursue a joint meeting with the GOI pursuant to reftel. Sembrana also later suggested that until the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement is in place, further action in Baghdad would be wholly speculative. Chatterjee agreed, but insisted that we stay in touch with each other on any news and with our respective headquarters to keep everyone aware of what is going on. He promised to contact us once he next heard from the UN about USG conversations with UN on this topic; we undertook to stay in touch.
5. (C) At this point, we have not entered into discussions with Coalition members that provide security to UNAMI, but we do plan to pursue discussion privately with UNAMI on possible options. CROCKER