|08BAGHDAD3855||2008-12-10 13:25:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Baghdad|
VZCZCXRO2750 PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK DE RUEHGB #3855 3451325 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 101325Z DEC 08 FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0775 INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0763
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 003855
1. (C) On December 1, U.S. Representative to the United
Nations Zalmay Khalilzad discussed with Prime Minister Nuri
al-Maliki next steps to protect Development Fund for Iraq
(DFI) assets through a new United Nations Security Council
resolution (UNSCR). Khalilzad urged Iraq to quickly submit a
draft resolution to the Security Council and explain why Iraq
still needs financial protection. Regarding the bilateral
Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA), PM Maliki told Khalilzad
that he does not expect Iraq to hold a popular referendum on
the agreement. End Summary.
Must Act Now to Protect the DFI
2. (C) Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki hosted at his residence
December 1 the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Khalilzad, Ambassador Crocker, MNF-I Commanding General
Odierno, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoyshar Zebari, Interior
Minister Jawad Bulani, and Oil Minister Husayn al-Shahristani.
3. (C) Ambassador Khalilzad said the U.S. was committed to
working with Iraq to protect its Development Fund of Iraq
(DFI) assets through a new UN resolution before the current
one expires at year's end. He urged Prime Minister Maliki to
quickly submit to the United Nations Security Council a draft
resolution that is narrowly focused, and not encumbered by
tangential issues. Khalilzad recommended that Iraq explain
to the UNSC that without this protection, Iraq's financial
assets would be in jeopardy from Saddam-era claims and
without these funds, Iraq's security could be harmed.
Khalilzad also explained that Iraq should begin to address
the outstanding claims levied against its assets and, if
claims are unjustified, explain why. Maliki indicated that
Iraq will begin to respond to these claims, even though Iraq
likely would refuse these claims. Maliki also acknowledged
the importance of working quickly in the UN and thanked the
U.S. for its support.
4. (C) Maliki asked how long this new extension should last.
Khalilzad responded that its duration should be long enough
for Iraq to properly address claims against its assets, but
that a shorter extension would be easier to pass through the
UNSC. The Prime Minister was interested in what countries
currently sit on the UNSC and who needs to be convinced.
Khalilzad answered that we should start with the Permanent
Five, and then move to countries such as Libya and South
Africa. Maliki said Russia has invited him to Moscow, and
was optimistic the Russians would listen to his arguments.
Maliki asked for continued guidance from the U.S. on how to
work the DFI issue within the UN. Maliki added that Iraq
will donate $50 million over two years to assist in the
construction of a new UN building.
Positive Impact of the SOFA
5. (C) Khalilzad praised Maliki for his courage in obtaining
the Iraqi Parliament's approval of the SoFA. Maliki said it
was difficult to change the mindset in Iraq about the
agreement but the public reaction since the parliament's vote
has been unexpectedly smooth. Khalilzad said having a
friendly and public dialogue about such an issue is a rarity
in this region. When pressed, Maliki predicted there would
be no referendum on the SoFA, but did not specify why.
Maliki said it would be impossible to complete a SoFA with
other members of the Coalition because of the difficulty
Qother members of the Coalition because of the difficulty
getting another agreement through the CoR. Rather, Iraq will
seek separate bilateral pacts with the United Kingdom and