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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07MOSCOW4601
2007-09-19 03:28:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Moscow
Cable title:  

RUSSIA WILL OPEN A CONSULATE IN NORTHERN IRAQ

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  IQ  RS 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO1214
PP RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHMO #4601 2620328
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 190328Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3972
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 004601 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL IQ RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA WILL OPEN A CONSULATE IN NORTHERN IRAQ

Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells for reasons 1.4 (b/d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 004601

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL IQ RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA WILL OPEN A CONSULATE IN NORTHERN IRAQ

Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells for reasons 1.4 (b/d).


1. (C) Summary: The MFA Middle East Department told us that
Russia plans to open a consulate in the Kurdish regional city
Irbil in October, with the possibility to open another in
Basrah. MFA official Elbrus Kutrashev expressed concern that
the activities of Russian diplomats in Baghdad remain limited
due to security concerns. Similarly, the MFA noted that
Russia continues to deny Iraqi requests to purchase Russian
military equipment, fearing that such activities could create
the impression that Russia was taking sides in the sectarian
fighting, thereby increasing the risk of violence against
Russian diplomats. There has been no official Russian
reaction to the plan for Iraq presented by General Petraeus
and Ambassador Crocker, although the MFA told us that Russia
is concerned U.S. troops will be removed from Iraq before the
country is stable. End summary.

Russian Consulate in Irbil
--------------


2. (C) According to Elbrus Kutrashev of the MFA Middle East
Department, Russia and Iraq will sign a reciprocal agreement
during the September 18-21 visit of Iraqi FM Zebari to Moscow
that permits each to open two consulates in the other
country. Russia will be allowed to open a consulate in Irbil
and a second in Basrah, although the GOR has no intention of
opening a second consulate until the security situation in
Basrah improves considerably. (Note: Russia historically
maintained a consulate in Basrah, but it was closed in 1991
just as the Persian Gulf War began. End note.) The MFA
understands that the Iraqi government has no intention of
opening consulates in Russia at this time.

Security in Baghdad Significantly Limits Embassy Activities
-------------- --------------


3. (C) Kutrashev explained that the relative safety of Iraq's
Kurdish region will allow the Russian diplomats posted there
to carry out their duties, unlike those in Baghdad who live
as virtual "prisoners" in the Russian Embassy. Leaving their
compound as little as possible, the Russian diplomats are
limited in their ability to carry out political reporting or
provide consular assistance to the approximately 100 Russians
working in Iraq on electrical and water supply projects.
Kutrashev, who served at the Russian Embassy in Baghdad from
2003 to 2005, told us that there is an ongoing debate within
the MFA about the utility of keeping personnel in Baghdad,
with some officials, particularly those who served in Iraq,
questioning why the Embassy still exists. We expressed our
concern for the safety of Russian diplomats in Iraq, but
stressed the importance of Russia maintaining a presence in
Baghdad and supporting the Iraqi government.


4. (C) Commenting on reports in the Russian press that the
GOR sold arms to Iraq, Kutrashev said that the GOR had denied
Iraqi requests to purchase Russian small arms and helicopters
to avoid giving the appearance that Russia was taking sides
in the Iraqi sectarian divide, which would increase the risk
of violence against Russian diplomats. The GOR also feared
that the weapons might fall into the wrong hands should Iraq
descend into a full-scale civil war. On September 17, the
MFA issued a further statement, rebutting media reports of
M1-17 helicopter sales to Iraq.

No Official Reaction to Petraeus/Crocker Report
-------------- --


5. (C) Kutrashev noted that there was no reaction within the
MFA to Senate testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador
Crocker on U.S. plans for Iraq. He did say that reports of
Russians taking pleasure in seeing the U.S. "humiliated" in
Iraq do not reflect the views of Russian policymakers who
understand the importance of U.S. success. Kutrashev offered
that Russia has nothing to gain from a U.S. "defeat" in Iraq,
nor does it wish that the U.S. pull out too soon, which would
only cause the security situation to deteriorate. While it
may be too late for a "real victory," Russian officials hope
U.S. forces stay in Iraq long enough to ensure that the
country is stable. (Note: Putin made the same point in his
September 14 meeting with foreign journalists, academics, and
policymakers. End note.)
Burns