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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05BAGHDAD3137
2005-07-29 14:58:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER TOUR D'HORIZON WITH NEW

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  IZ 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 003137 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/29/2025
TAGS: PREL PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER TOUR D'HORIZON WITH NEW
AMBASSADOR

Classified By: Political Counselor Robert Ford.
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 003137

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/29/2025
TAGS: PREL PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER TOUR D'HORIZON WITH NEW
AMBASSADOR

Classified By: Political Counselor Robert Ford.
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) Summary. Foreign Minister Zebari told
Ambassador on July 28 that MFA plans to open 30 new
embassies and train 500 new diplomats who represent a
broad cross-section of Iraqi society. Ambassador told
Zebari a more assertive Iraqi diplomacy is needed.
The Iraqi Foreign Minister said the Iraqi MFA soon
would open missions in Jeddah and Riyadh, but he
wished the Saudis would be more helpful politically.
He was warmer in his remarks about Egypt, but the
apparent murder of the Egyptian diplomat was a
setback. Regarding the border scuffles with Kuwait
near the city of Basra, Ambassador offered assistance
to help set up a meeting. Zebari agreed to form an
ITG delegation to talk to the Kuwaitis. The
Ambassador and Foreign Minister agreed that pressure
had to be maintained on Syria, and Zebari asked the
Ambassador to weigh in with the Prime Minister to
forestall any sudden Jafari trip. Zebari opined that
the Iranians would continue to pose a challenge; he
implied that the new president Ahmedinejad could steer
Iranian policy in uncomfortable new directions. The
Iranians had pushed Prime Minister Jafari to accept
the 1975 Algiers agreement during Jafari's recent trip
to Iran. Zebari noted that Jafari had refused, and
Zebari himself commented that the agreement in its
entirety would not be acceptable any longer. Barzani
said it would be useful for Kurdish leader Masood
Barzani to come to Baghdad to finalize a constitution
deal. End Summary.

MFA GROWING
--------------


2. (C) Foreign Minister Zebari told Ambassador on
July 28 that MFA would increase the number of
embassies abroad significantly by opening 30 new
embassies. Currently about 45 embassies exist. He
also plans to train 500 new diplomats who represent a
broad cross-section of Iraqi society. Zebari informed
that the MFA would be reorganized in the coming months
and assured that the appointment of an Iraqi
ambassador to Washington DC is a high priority.

RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBORS
--------------


3. (C) Zebari said commitments to send ambassadors to

Iraq by Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, and Saudi
Arabia were eroding due to the insurgency's recent
campaign against diplomats. Ambassador urged Zebari
to become more involved in security issues and
recommended that he get the right government officials
together to coordinate the right kind of security
protection that foreign missions could trust. Zebari
dodged this suggestion and instead passed on Jordanian
King Abdulla's request for International Zone (IZ)
property for the Jordanian mission. MFA
Undersecretary for Bilateral Affairs Bayati reasoned
that making available 10 properties in the IZ for
diplomatic missions would be a factor in encouraging
neighboring countries to open missions in Baghdad.
Zebari said the MFA had raised this issue with the
Cabinet Secretary General who now controls property
distribution in the IZ, but he askd he merican
Embassy to weigh in as well.


4. (C) Zebari's review of Iraq's bilateral relations
included:

-- KUWAIT. Despite recent border tensions near
Basrah, Zebari said relations with Kuwait are
excellent. Zebari mentioned he had spoken with
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah last November about the
need to quietly resolve the border question, stating
that this is an emotional issue for Iraqis.
Ambassador offered assistance to help set up a meeting
with the Kuwaitis, and Zebari agreed to form an ITG
delegation to Kuwait to discuss border disputes and
other issues.

-- TURKEY. Zebari said that MFA has engaged with
Turkey on the PKK trilateral and Second Border Gate
initiative. (Comment: In reality, top MFA decision
makers have been out of the country much of the last
two months and have been disorganized in forming a
delegation to attend the second PKK trilateral in
Washington, DC. End Comment.)

-- IRAN. Zebari said that, during his recent trip
with PM Jafari, the Iranians did not deny that
insurgents from Afghanistan are transiting through
Iran. Ambassador suggested that perhaps the Iranians
are pursuing multiple lines of engagement -- sort of
"hedging." Zebari thought that new president
Ahmadinejad would inaugurate changes in Iran and that
these likely would not be positive. Zebari said there
was one notable disagreement that emerged during
Jafari trip to Iran: restoring the 1975 Algiers
agreement. The Iranians wanted Jafari to recognize
it, and Jafari refused, Zebari noted. Its border
language might be acceptable, he observed, but not the
other elements of the agreement.

-- IRAN CONTINUED. On attitudes toward the U.S.,
Zebari said that the Iranians are afraid of continued
American presence in Iraq and subsequent building of
permanent U. S. military bases. Jafari assured
Iranians that Americans would leave when Iraq no
longer needs their help. Ambassador noted that the
USG does not want hostile relations between Iraq and
Iran, but the USG will closely monitor Iranian efforts
to boost its influence, as well as "hedging
strategies" of infiltrating people and weapons into
Iraq. Ambassador encouraged Zebari to educate Iran on
this.

-- SAUDI ARABIA. Relations with Saudi Arabia are
good, but lack of an Iraqi embassy in Riyadh hampers
the Haj pilgrimage, said Zebari. Zebari said Iraqi
missions in Riyadh and Jeddah have been renovated and
will soon be reactivated. He added that the Saudis
have not been politically helpful.

-- JORDAN. Zebari said Jordan's government and
leadership follow a good policy on Iraq, but "at the
lower levels things are not so good." He was pleased
that, after Talabani's visit, the King stopped media
agitation against Iraq.

-- SYRIA. Syria has not been helpful and pressure
should be maintained, insisted Zebari. He requested
the Ambassador's help with Iraqi leaders, particularly
to guard against any plans by PM Jafari to visit
Syria. Ambassador advised that a coordinated
government policy on Syria would be useful. Iraq is
willing to move ahead on opening an embassy, and on
August 2 the MFA will send a team to Damascus "to
check to see they mean to normalize relations."

-- EGYPT. Relations are good, and there will likely
be a September summit that will include terrorism as a
topic, said Zebari. However, he did not appreciate
Egypt's handling of the recent kidnapping and murder
of its ambassador to Iraq. Instead of blaming the
terrorists, Zebari complained that Egypt had blamed
him for the murder of the Egyptian diplomat because
Zebari had announced the new ambassador's appointment
during the Brussels conference on Iraq.

NATIONAL COMPACT NEEDED
--------------


5. (C). For a successful Iraqi future, Ambassador
stressed the need for a "national compact" that is
embodied in the constitution. He noted that he could
even fly north to bring Kurdish leader Masood Barzani
back to Baghdad with him so Barzani can participate in
final negotiations to reach consensus on contentious
issues. Zebari, a close ally of Barzani, thought this
a good idea.

--------------
Comment
--------------


6. (C) Zebari was his usual affable self, but he
several times made references to the importance of
other Iraqi officials and the U.S. treating the Iraqi
MFA as a serious institution charged with coordinating
Iraqi foreign policy. Zebari would like to be
included on more of the itineraries of high-level
American visitors who come to Baghdad to discuss
bilateral relations.

7. (U) REO HILLAH, REO BASRAH, REO MOSUL, and REO
KIRKUK, minimize considered.


Khalilzad