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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08BERLIN1044 2008-07-31 12:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Berlin
Cable title:  

PM MALIKI VISITS GERMANY TO ENHANCE COOPERATION

Tags:   PGOV PREL IZ GM 
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VZCZCXRO0371
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHRL #1044/01 2131207
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 311207Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1809
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY 0228
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 001044 

SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/29/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL IZ GM
SUBJECT: PM MALIKI VISITS GERMANY TO ENHANCE COOPERATION

REF: A. BERLIN 950

B. BERLIN 1001

Classified By: CDA John Koenig. Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).



1. (U) SUMMARY: Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki visited Germany on
July 22-24 to encourage German politicians and industry to
increase their cooperation with Iraq. He underscored that
the security situation has dramatically improved in Iraq over
the last six months and invited the German government to
establish additional consulates in Iraq, industry to resume
economic ties, and Iraqi refugees to return to the country.
The German government announced it will open a consulate
general in the northern city of Erbil and expressed hope that
economic relations between both countries will thrive.
Maliki also emphasized that Iraqi Christians are not
discriminated against in Iraq. END SUMMARY.

Security Situation in Iraq Improved


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





2. (U) Maliki's July 22-24 visit to Berlin successfully
managed to promote an even-handed picture of the improved
security situation in Iraq while he pressed for additional
investment and reconstruction efforts. "We are therefore
looking to our friends, first of all to Germany, for
increased involvement" he said after a meeting with
Chancellor Angela Merkel. He added that the Saddam
dictatorship prevented Iraq from developing its many
resources. He also emphasized that Iraq is now in a position
to take care of its own security, which Chancellor Merkel
cautiously welcomed.

Political Cooperation


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





3. (C) Karl Matthias Klause, Deputy Head of the Near East,
Asia, Africa, and Latin America Office at the Chancellery,
described the dynamics between Maliki and Merkel as friendly
and open and noted that the Chancellery had been working on
this visit since the beginning of the year. (NOTE: The MFA
was basically uninvolved in arranging the trip. End Note.)
Klause complained that the German Embassy in Baghdad is too
small and was thus ineffective in arranging both Maliki's
trip to Berlin and German EconMin Glos' recent trip to
Baghdad (Ref A). He expressed appreciation for USG help on
logistics and security arrangements. The Chancellery also
expressed hope that the German diplomatic presence in Iraq
will increase.



4. (SBU) During Maliki's visit, the Chancellor noted that she
is particularly interested in helping develop Iraq's federal
system, as well as providing assistance in training civil
servants. Maliki asked Germany to establish a German-Iraqi
university in Iraq and to open a Goethe Institute office so
that Iraqi students can learn German and be sent to Germany.
"The question of education is enormously important to us,"
Maliki said during a press briefing.



5. (C) Maliki also met with Foreign Minister Steinmeier, who
underscored shared responsibility for Iraq's reconstruction.
The MFA announced that Germany will "upgrade" the
recently-opened embassy branch office in Erbil into a full
consulate general. The PM also pressed for the opening of an
additional consulate in Basra, which MFA Iraq Unit head
Ruediger Lotz noted received a reserved reception from the
MFA, although Steinmeier did not rule it out for the future.



6. (C) According to Klause, Steinmeier was "not happy" about
EconMin Glos' visit to Iraq, since Glos had gone before
Steinmeier. Lotz noted that domestic political and internal
SPD party concerns have prevented Steinmeier from traveling
to Iraq. Klause also said that it is important to overcome
any rift in the West regarding Iraq, in order to provide
stability for the Iraqi government and signal to "Iraqi
groups" that the West is not divided. He said that the MFA
was still not considering a Steinmeier visit and that Glos
would likely go again soon with a business delegation (ref
B). Klause did not think that Steinmeier would make a trip
to Iraq before a second visit by Glos and said the two
definitely would not travel there together.

Economic Cooperation


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





7. (U) As reported in Ref A, a great deal of Maliki's
schedule focused on the topic of economic cooperation. He
met with representatives of 70 German companies interested in
investing in Iraq while here. The PM emphasized that Iraq's
investment law protects foreign investments. Merkel
suggested that Iraq and Germany have a mutual interest in

BERLIN 00001044 002 OF 002


enhancing economic cooperation, emphasizing Germany's need
for Iraq's natural resources and Iraq's need for German
technological know-how. She highlighted German interest in
sectors such as renewable energy and infrastructure.



8. (C) Thomas Lenferding, MFA Iraq desk officer reported that
the economic angle of the Maliki visit was the most
important. He noted that improving the security situation is
vital in this regard and added that despite the fact that
U.S. forces were responsible in large part for the improved
security situation, Maliki did not make this clear during his
visit. Lenferding said the MFA will continuously review the
security situation.

Situation of Refugees


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





9. (C) Maliki called on Iraqi emigrants of all religions to
return to Iraq, underscoring that the Iraqi economy needs
educated people. Deputy National Security Adviser Rolf Nikel
told us the German position now is to try to delay an EU
decision on accepting refugees. Nikel believes EU interior
ministers also favor postponement of a decision. He said
Germany would like to try to help stop any brain-drain,
"provided the security situation continues to improve."
Referring to the situation of Iraqi Christians, Maliki said
there is no discrimination against Christians. Merkel added
that the German government will consider the Iraqi
government's plans for a Refugee Resettlement when
considering the admission of Iraqi refugees into Europe.



10. (C) Comment: With positive press, friendly meetings with
political figures, and a large dose of investment
salesmanship, PM Maliki's first visit to Germany was a
further, important step toward changing the image on Iraq
among German media, political, and economic elites. The
visit is part of an emerging trend over the past six months
of positive German reengagement with Iraq. As the German
presence in Iraq -- both official and economical --
increases, we shoyld step up our efforts to encourage Germany
to do more. Among other things, we need to continue
persuading the Foreign Office to become more constructive and
offer greater support to private and official initiatives
inside Iraq.
KOENIG