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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04BRUSSELS416 2004-02-02 04:22:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Brussels
Cable title:  

EC ON IRAQI REFUGEE RETURN AND INTEGRATION

Tags:   PREF IZ AF EUR EUN USEU BRUSSELS 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BRUSSELS 000416 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/30/2014
TAGS: PREF IZ AF EUR EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: EC ON IRAQI REFUGEE RETURN AND INTEGRATION
STRATEGY: LESSONS LEARNED FROM AFGHANISTAN

REF: STATE 19360

Classified By: PRMOFF MARC J. MEZNAR. REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).



1. (SBU) Summary. The EC agrees with reftel strategy of
concentrating first on the return of Iraqi refugees from
neighboring countries. It has no plans at present to promote
the return of Iraqis from EU Member States. An EC attempt to
return Afghans to their country in 2003 was unsuccessful
because many Afghans feared the conditions in Afghanistan
were not adequate to sustain reintegration. The EC would
like to participate in the February 15 - 16 meeting in Amman
to map out a strategy for the return and reintegratation of
Iraqi refugees. ECHO is currently funding an NGO to help
return Iraqi refugees from Iran. End Summary.



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DG JHA: No Plan to Return Iraqis from EU


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2. (C) On 1/30, PRMOff met with Christian Klos, DG Justice
and Home Affairs (JHA) officer in charge of return policies,
to convey reftel points on the proposed refugee return and
reintegration strategy for Iraqis. Klos said that the
European Commission (EC) had no plans to begin returning
Iraqis from EU Member States, primarily because the present
safety and security conditions in Iraq did not seem to
warrant such. He said internal EU discussions about Iraq
remain contentious and that the EC would rather focus its
return efforts on a country where there is broad consensus.



3. (SBU) Klos reviewed failed EC efforts to carry out a
voluntary return program for Afghans. Based on estimates
supplied by IOM, the EC allocated 7 million euros to fund an
initiative which was projected to return approximately 5000
Afghans per month beginning in April 2003. These JHA funds
from the B7-667 budget line were intended to help the Afghan
government improve capacity for handling returns, including
the construction of reception centers and transportation
inside the country, provide mine awareness training for
returnees and also some vocational training and income
generating programs. However, very few Afghans were willing
to return, possibly because of lack of security in many parts
of Afghanistan, particularly outside the capital.



4. (C) Klos welcomed the strategy laid out in reftel and said
that the JHA funding could be used for Iraqis, if Member
States agreed, along the lines described in paragraph 3 for
Afghans. Klos said that the incoming-Dutch Presidency has
indicated interest in exploring the possibility of returning
Iraqis, but he doubted that the situation on the ground in
Iraq would allow for this during the Dutch Presidency (second
half of 2004).



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ECHO: Onboard to Further Regional Returns


--------------------------





5. (SBU) PRMOff also conveyed reftel points to ECHO Head of
Unit Ruth Albuquerque. She agreed with the proposed strategy
to facilitate refugee returns from neighboring countries
first. Albuquerque expressed interest in the February 15-16
planning meeting in Amman and said she would like her
Amman-based officer Paul Filler to attend. To date, ECHO's
return efforts have been focused on refugee returns from Iran
to southern Iraq via its implementing NGO partner Accion
Contre la Faim (ACF).
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