wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08TALLINN228 2008-07-02 14:25:00 SECRET Embassy Tallinn
Cable title:  

ESTONIA/IRAQ: TIMING FOR POST-UNSCR ARRANGEMENTS

Tags:   MARR MOPS PREL IZ EN 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO8256
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHFL RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV
DE RUEHTL #0228/01 1841425
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 021425Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0690
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0356
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0055
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TALLINN 000228 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/NB, PM, NEA
PLEASE ALSO PASS TO NSC AND JS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/16/2018
TAGS: MARR MOPS PREL IZ EN
SUBJECT: ESTONIA/IRAQ: TIMING FOR POST-UNSCR ARRANGEMENTS

Classified by: CDA KAREN DECKER for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d)

REF: (A) STATE 60836
(B) TALLINN 102
(C) TALLINN IIR 6 954 0060 08

(U) This is an action recommendation -- please see para 7.



1. (S) SUMMARY: Estonia's mandate to participate in Operation Iraqi
Freedom, currently predicated on UNSCR 1151, will expire at the end
of 2008. The Estonian parliament will be required to vote on a
recommendation from the government to extend the mandate and thereby
the deployment. The Iraq mission is a sensitive and controversial
matter in Estonia, and its extension -- absent a new UNSCR -- will be
politically difficult to achieve. The Estonians are, therefore,
watching carefully to see how U.S.-Iraqi SOFA negotiations proceed.



2. (S) SUMMARY CON'T: Even before Ref A, post had begun to explore
with Estonian officials how they planned to renew the mission in
Iraq. It is clear already that Estonia will benefit from more direct
input from Washington to facilitate successful mandate renewal. As a
first step, to lay the groundwork for technical, legal and political
discussions, GOE officials have told us they will need a direct
request from the Government of Iraq to extend the Estonian mandate.
In addition, the GOE is requesting more detailed information on the
U.S.-Iraq SOFA. We believe an inter-agency visit in August to brief
the GOE on the SOFA will serve to both inform key Estonians on the
issue and to focus them on a workable action plan. END SUMMARY.



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

-
SOFA CLARITY: ESTONIANS ASKING EARLY AND OFTEN


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

-


3. (S) The Iraq SOFA and its implications for Estonian participation
in coalition operations in Iraq has already been raised at high
levels in the U.S. (Estonian President Ilves to the Vice President in
late April) and on numerous occasions here in Estonia among Embassy
staff and senior Estonian officials. Most recently, Poloff and Army
Attache met with Arti Hilpus, Division Director for Security Policy
at the Estonian MFA and Jaano Vija, Chief Expert from the
International Operations Section of the MOD. Hilpus told us the
Government will begin discussions on renewal of the Iraq mandate for
2009 in early September, and "will take at least three months" to
develop their position. MOD and MFA share the lead in drafting the
mandate legislation. Their final draft must be agreed by the Cabinet
and then submitted to the Parliament for approval (in December).



4. (S) Hilpus emphasized that the safest path to a renewal of the
mandate would be to demonstrate that the U.S. and Estonia were in
lockstep. As much as possible, the U.S. should provide detailed
information on the SOFA and how it may be extended to coalition
partners. (Note: Hilpus is unsure what process would be required to
approve a decision for Estonia to "opt in" to a U.S.-Iraq SOFA. He
suggested that it may be possible to do so without Parliamentary
approval, if the SOFA does not include any reference to financial
obligations. End Note.) Hilpus strongly recommended the U.S.
provide such clarity by mid-August to give the MFA and MOD time to
prep the formal discussions in September within the Government.
Charge has heard the same request from MOD Permanent Under Secretary
Lauri Almann.



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



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


GETTING AN IRAQI REQUEST -- FOREIGN MINISTER TO BAGHDAD


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



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




5. (S) Hilpus emphasized the important role the UNSCR has played in
providing the basis for previous mandate renewals in Estonia. In the
absence of a new UNSCR in December, Hilpus said, a direct request
from the Government of Iraq (GOI) for Estonia to extend its mandate
would be essential to establish the legal basis necessary for the
continued deployment of Estonian troops to Iraq.



6. (S) Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, accompanied by Hilpus,
is planning to visit Baghdad in August. (The GOE is currently
awaiting final authorization from the Government of Iraq before
making transport arrangements with USCENTCOM.) We would like to work
closely with the MFA to shape the FM's visit so that it includes time
to nail down the request from the Government of Iraq for Estonia to
continue its mission.



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


ACTION RECOMMENDATION: A ROADSHOW


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





7. (S) We would find it hard to believe that Estonia is alone in its

TALLINN 00000228 002 OF 002


thirst for information about next steps in Iraq. We therefore
propose Washington consider a "road show" to key capitals this summer
and fall to break down the SOFA implications for coalition partners
and help shape their decision-making process. We would see two
aspects to such a show.

-- in August, a working-level delegation to discuss technical and
legal aspects of the SOFA and how coalition partners could benefit as
third parties. We would envision this to be a joint State-Pentagon
group.

-- in October, a higher-level roadshow (DAS or above) to work
parliament and public opinion. Neither visit would need to be long,
but would serve to emphasize the importance we place on the Estonian
contribution.



8. (C) An additional potential force multiplier (especially in
influencing public opinion) would be to have a CODEL stop in Tallinn
on its way back from Iraq to share its findings with government
officials, parliamentarians and the media. Estonians are eager for
first- and second-hand accounts of progress, and unfortunately, their
access is limited.



9. (S) For our part, we will work the Foreign Minister's upcoming
trip to Baghdad as a natural time and place to nail down whether Iraq
wants Estonia to continue to participate. We will continue to press
MFA and MOD contacts to work their own inter-agency process and their
parliamentarians to lay the groundwork for an informed debate in the
fall. We will work Parliament ourselves as well.



10. (S) COMMENT: Without doubt, we are asking a lot of Washington
offices overburdened with urgent priorities. We firmly believe,
however, that maintaining the international nature of the coalition
in Iraq is important, both for the future of the Iraqi people and the
strengthening of the transatlantic relationship. END COMMENT AND
ACTION RECOMMENDATION.

DECKER