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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08OTTAWA1501 2008-12-01 21:53:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ottawa
Cable title:  

CANADA SEEKING TO KEEP EXCHANGE OFFICERS IN IRAQ

Tags:   PREL MOPS NATO IR CA 
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1. (SBU) This is an action request -- see para 7.



2. (C) Summary: Canada is seeking ways to keep its 13
military exchange officers in Iraq embedded in American and
British military units after December 31, 2008, when the UN
mandate for Iraq expires. In a December 1 meeting, Canadian
interlocutors sought confirmation that their officers would
not be covered under the new U.S.-Iraqi Status of Forces
Agreement (SOFA). Canada is mulling various options to keep
their personnel in Iraq, including a non-legally binding
exchange of letters with the Government of Iraq, or providing
diplomatic accreditation for the exchange officers through
the Canadian embassy in Amman. Before approaching the Iraqis
about an exchange of letters, however, Canada would like to
know whether the U.S. military would accept this stopgap
measure to allow Canadian exchange officers to remain with
their American units. Canadian interlocutors stressed that
Canada desires strongly to keep their exchange officers in
Iraq. End summary.



3. (C) Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
(DFAIT) legal officer Suneeta Millington invited poloff and
naval attach on December 1 to discuss how Canada can keep
its nine Canadian exchange officers with their American units
once the UN mandate expires on December 31, 2008. (Note:
Canada also has four officers in Iraq with British units. end
note) Millington sought to confirm that the Canadian exchange
officers attached to U.S. forces in Iraq would not enjoy the
same privileges and immunities under the new SOFA as their
American counterparts. Based on guidance provided by OSD
through WHA/CAN (ref C), poloff and naval attach confirmed
that article 30 of the SOFA covers only American personnel.
Millington expressed thanks for the confirmation and
suggested that DFAIT and Department of National Defence (DND)
have been mulling several options to allow the Canadian
troops to stay in Iraq. DFAIT and DND interlocutors stressed
that Canada desires strongly that their exchange officers
remain in Iraq. However, negotiating its own bilateral
treaty with Iraq is a "non-starter for Canada," according to
Millington. She noted that while Iraq has made clear that it
values Canadian contributions in Iraq, Baghdad has &capacity
issues" that preclude negotiating a separate bilateral
agreement in time for the deadline.



4. (C) DFAIT is leaning toward proposing a non-legally
binding exchange of letters with Iraq that recognizes the
provisions of the U.S. SOFA and proposes that the same terms
apply to Canadian personnel serving with U.S. units,
according to Millington. She cautioned that she had "no
idea" whether Iraq would be amenable to Canada's proposal.
Before approaching the Iraqis, Canada wanted to see whether
U.S. military commanders would accept the stopgap measure of
an exchange of letters to allow Canadian exchange personnel
to stay with their U.S. units.



5. (C) Naval attach mentioned that he had heard that Canada
was contemplating giving diplomatic accreditation to the
exchange officers and queried the Canadians about this
Qexchange officers and queried the Canadians about this
possibility. Millington responded that this option was
&unlikely.8 DFAIT has policy objections, she said, to
granting diplomatic status to those who might "conceivably
use deadly force, even if solely in self-defense." DFAIT
Iraq Desk Officer David Leach inquired about U.S. experience
in accrediting military personnel with administrative and
technical staff credentials through an embassy. He said that
Canada was particularly interested to know how the U.S.
approaches host governments to gain A and T status for marine
security guards.



6. (C) Millington expressed concern about even exchanging
letters in less than a month, given the many tasks facing the
Iraqi government and the low-priority they would likely
accord the Canadian request. DND peacekeeping directorate
representative Lt. Col. David MacIver concurred, adding that
the approaching holiday season in Ottawa will make the legal
drafting and clearance process in Ottawa "challenging" as
well. He noted that the Strategic Staff is preparing to send
next week a &warning order8 for all exchange officers in
Iraq, notifying them to be prepared to depart Iraq no later

OTTAWA 00001501 002 OF 002


than December 31. DND Judge Advocate General representative
Lt. Cmdr Ken Osbourne commented that the exclusion of
Canadian officers from SOFA protection was already creating
moral and welfare issues, including access to mail service
and the ability to move off compound.



7. (C) Action request: Please provide guidance on whether a
non-binding exchange of letters between Canada and the Iraqi
government would be acceptable to U.S. military commanders as
a means to allow Canadian exchange officers to remain with
their U.S. units in Iraq after December 31. Post also
requests State's assistance in gathering information on the
legal and administrative process for securing A and T status
for marine security guards.

Visit Canada,s Economy and Environment Forum at
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