wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08BAGHDAD2366 2008-07-29 04:48:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

FM ZEBARI FRUSTRATED WITH PM MALIKI AND WONDERS

Tags:   PREL PGOV IZ 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO8185
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2366/01 2110448
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 290448Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8566
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002366 

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/28/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV IZ
SUBJECT: FM ZEBARI FRUSTRATED WITH PM MALIKI AND WONDERS
ABOUT RELATIONS WITH JORDAN

REF: A. REF A (STATE 78542)

B. REF B (BAGHDAD 2203)

C. REF C (BAGHDAD 1929)

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



1. (S/NF) Summary: Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari was his
usual gregarious self but also made no effort to hide
frustrations stemming from his relationship with PM Maliki
and his continued disappointment that King Abdullah had not
yet rescheduled his visit to Baghdad (originally planned for
July 9). Recently arrived PolMinCouns called on Zebari July
27 to convey ref A points on renewing UNAMI's mandate
(reported septel) and to discuss with Zebari efforts to
promote Iraq's regional engagement. Zebari noted how
European countries had stressed the importance of the Iraqi
Christian issue during PM Maliki's just completed visits to
Germany and Italy. Zebari displayed a distinct lack of
enthusiasm regarding his own upcoming visit to Tehran for the
July 29-30 NAM Ministerial -- a visit he said he would make
as short as possible. End Summary.



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


Frustrations with PM Maliki


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





2. (S/NF) FM Zebari made no attempt to hide his growing
frustration with PM Maliki's slow-rolling of appointments for
Ambassadors to key Arab countries. Zebari reported no
progress gaining PM Maliki's approval of the names of six
career ambassadors since the last time Ambassador Crocker
raised the issue with him on July 11 (ref B). Although
Zebari said he has raised this with Maliki many times since
early June (as have we), the PM has not responded
definitively on these specific cases nor has submitted the
larger group of 40 ambassadorial candidates to the CoR for
Parliamentary approval. With the CoR scheduled to conclude
its current session this week and then begin a month-long
summer holiday, Zebari appeared resigned that progress could
not be expected on this front until the autumn.



3. (S/NF) In a similar vein, Zebari made a point of
underlining the importance of the Embassy dealing only with
the MFA on the issue of assigning U.S.-held IZ properties to
future occupants. (Note: As reported ref C, the Embassy and
MNF-I have been working with the MFA to facilitate
preparation of several IZ villas for use as future embassies
of key Arab neighbors and other priority countries. The PM's
office has complicated this effort by requesting some of the
properties be set aside for other uses. We have made clear
that the GOI should speak with one voice and that we desire
to work through the MFA on this issue. End Note).



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


King Abdullah and other High Level Visits -- Nothing Expected
Soon


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





4. (S/NF) In a brief discussion on the subject, FM Zebari
made clear his lingering disappointment with the July 9
non-visit of Jordan's King Abdullah. He downplayed the
security concerns that prompted the Jordanian postponement,
noting that the following day, July 10, Turkish PM Erdogan
had visited Baghdad and received full state honors without
incident. With the King's postponement, he said, Jordan had
lost a timely opportunity to strengthen relations -- coming
not long after PM Maliki's June 12 visit to Amman. Zebari
expressed some dismay that the GOJ continues to distance
itself from Iraq and appears to view the Jordanian-Saudi
relationship as more important than the Jordanian-Iraqi one.
Even during difficult periods of Saddam's time, he observed,
Jordanian-Iraqi relations had always remained strong. While
acknowledging that the GOI could do more to improve bilateral
relations, particularly with regard to the large population
of Iraqi refugees in Jordan (something he viewed as doubtful
since PM Maliki "thinks they're all Baathists"), he again
speculated, as he had previously (Ref B), that the Saudis
were somehow involved in scuttling the King's visit and that
the security concerns identified by Amman for the
postponement served as a pretext for other motives.



5. (S/NF) Looking ahead, Zebari said he still hopes the
King's visit will be rescheduled. However, the imminent
departure of President Talabani to the U.S. for medical
treatment will almost certainly preclude any high level
visits -- King Abdullah's or others -- until Talabani returns
to the country following recuperation. Zebari underlined
that protocol sensitivities at the Presidency Council make
such high-level visits tricky. As such, he deemed it
doubtful that we would see such visits in the coming weeks.

BAGHDAD 00002366 002 OF 002





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


Iraqi Christians -- An Issue that Comes Up Over and Over
Again


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





6. (C) Turning briefly to PM Maliki's just-completed trips to
Germany and Iraq (in which he took part), Zebari's most
pointed observation was on the need for the GOI to take more
seriously the issue of Iraqi Christians. This is "something
that comes up over and over again." He said the topic was
raised Berlin and Rome, and with the Pope. In his meeting
with the Pope, Zebari said PM Maliki delivered two messages:
(1) do what you can to discourage Christians from departing
Iraq and (2) let's work together to jointly organize a
meeting, either inside Iraq or outside, to address the issue.




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


Visit to Tehran -- As Short as Possible


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





7. (S/NF) Finally, as the meeting concluded, FM Zebari made
clear that he was not looking forward to his July 29-30 visit
to Tehran to participate in the NAM Ministerial. While
acknowledging that the NAM would provide a forum for him to
meet with many key international players, the thought of
visiting Tehran was plainly something Zebari viewed with the
excitement of a visit to the dentist. Joking that the MFA
was "the one citadel where the Iranians don't have
influence," he said he planned to make his visit as short as
possible.



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


Comment


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





8. (C) Always the affable interlocutor, Zebari's smile and
easy manner could not mask his frustration with PM Maliki's
continued delay in taking action on ambassadorial
appointments. Coupled with his quip that the MFA is the last
GOI bastion free of Iranian influence, and that King
Abdullah's visit remains in limbo, he gives the sense of a
man whose patience is being tested as his careful efforts to
promote Iraq's regional engagement are running into
obstacles, large and small.

CROCKER