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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BAGHDAD2662 2009-10-03 14:29:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

ELECTION AND INVESTMENT LAWS WEIGH HEAVILY ON PM'S

Tags:   PGOV PREL PHUM ECON EINV IZ 
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VZCZCXRO0905
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHTRO
DE RUEHGB #2662/01 2761429
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 031429Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4935
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002662 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/03/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ECON EINV IZ
SUBJECT: ELECTION AND INVESTMENT LAWS WEIGH HEAVILY ON PM'S
MIND

REF: BAGHDAD 2658

Classified By: Ambassador Christopher R. Hill for reasons 1.4. (b) and
(d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Maliki focused on passage of
the election law and an amendment to the investment law in an
October 1 meeting with Ambassador and Deputy Commanding
General (DCG) Hunzeker. The PM noted that disputes over the
distribution of parliamentary seats in Kirkuk still posed a
threat to the passage of a new election law before the
October 15 deadline, but said he was more optimistic about
the possibility of having an amended investment law in hand
before the U.S.-Iraq Investment Conference in late October.
He agreed that UNAMI would be a useful partner in the
resolution of the standoff with Mujahideen al-Khalq (MEK) and
asked the U.S. to consider resettling a small number of MEK
members. END SUMMARY.

KIRKUK STILL AN OBSTACLE TO ELECTION LAW


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





2. (C) Prime Minister Maliki was concerned that parliament
was unwilling to tackle the election law authorizing the 2010
parliamentary elections prior to the October 15 deadline set
by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC),
commenting to the Ambassador that the issue of parliamentary
representation in Kirkuk still divided deputies (reftel).
(NOTE: PM's advisor Sadiq Rikabi told POL M/C September 29
that Maliki was hopeful that a resolution was possible after
conferring with Kirkuk Arab representatives earlier that same
day, but believed that this will not be settled in time to be
incorporated into the election law. END NOTE.)



3. (C) The PM told the Ambassador that he was pushing the
Speaker and Deputy Speakers to ensure that draft legislation
moves to the procedural first step of a first reading soon.
Maliki emphasized that a credible, on-time election will be a
key step in Iraq's democratic process and that a delay in the
election would be unacceptable. The Ambassador concurred and
assured Maliki that supporting this election was a top
priority for the United States. He told the PM that his team
would continue to encourage Council of Representatives (COR)
members to resolve lingering disagreements and vote in
support of an election law prior to the deadline.

U.S.-IRAQ INVESTMENT CONFERENCE


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





4. (C) The Ambassador briefed Maliki on his meetings with
U.S. companies in September, highlighting their enthusiasm
about opportunities in Iraq and the impressive number of
firms that have already registered to attend the bilateral
investment conference in Washington on October 21. Maliki
commented that Iraq will be a more attractive prospect if the
COR passes a key amendment to Investment Law prior to the
conference, and told the Ambassador that he is optimistic
about the possibility that this will happen. He added that he
was still working on the final delegation list but said that
he intended to lead the GOI team if the legislation was
approved. (NOTE: Deputy Speaker Attiyah told POL M/C
September 30 that this bill will be put to a vote on October


3. A bomb threat in the COR building caused the October 3
session to be postponed to October 4. END NOTE.)



5. (C) PM asked Ambassador whether General Electric (GE)
would attend the conference, now that the GOI was up to date
in its payments for electric turbines. The Ambassador noted
that GE had just sent a letter to the PM that confirmed GE's
intention to attend and to accelerate the implementation of
the turbine project in Iraq.
Qthe turbine project in Iraq.

MEK: BRINGING UNAMI INTO THE PROCESS


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





6. (C) The Ambassador briefed Maliki on his recent
discussions with UNAMI regarding the resolution of the
Mujahideen al-Khalq (MEK) standoff with the GOI. UNAMI is
prepared to help the GOI in its negotiations with the MEK.
DCG emphasized that U.S. forces will help with transportation
and other logistics to allow UNAMI to carry out this mission.
The PM thanked the Ambassador and DCG for encouraging the UN
to take on this intermediary role, acknowledging the
importance of a credible international partner to provide
oversight. He stressed that the GOI and Iraqis are
frustrated with the MEK and want them out of the country, but
assured the Ambassador that he would proceed with caution and
allow the MEK to be relocated and deported in a dignified and
peaceful manner. Maliki told the Ambassador that he would
not forcibly return MEK members injured in the previous raid

BAGHDAD 00002662 002 OF 002


on Ashraf back to the camp. Maliki asked that the U.S.
consider accepting a number of MEK members and take on some
of the expense of their care and relocation, in order to
facilitate a resolution.



7. (C) DCG asked about the status of 36 MEK members who had
reportedly started a hunger strike. PM vowed to look into
this; however, he stated that "martyrdom" was a personal
choice and it may not be possible to save MEK members who are
committed to "killing themselves as a form of protest."

IRAQ-SYRIA: APPOINTMENT OF A UN ENVOY


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





8. (C) Ambassador Hill related that, as the Secretary said in
meetings with Iraqi officials in New York, we continue to
work with the UN to find an appropriate envoy to investigate
the August 19 bombings. He added that we share Iraq's
concerns about naming UN SRSG Melkert. Maliki observed that
the GOI did not intend to disparage Melkert; he assured
Ambassador that he had full faith in the SRSG to execute his
mission, as defined by Resolution 1770, but believed that the
issue of regional interference in Iraq's affairs required a
dedicated individual. The SRSG, he emphasized, already has a
full load of important duties and should not be "burdened"
with this external matter.

UK-IRAQ SECURITY AGREEMENT


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





9. (C) The Ambassador pressed PM Maliki about passing the UK
Security Agreement in the COR, highlighting the importance of
keeping the British engaged and noting that Britain continues
to try to be helpful to Iraq in the UN Security Council.
Maliki said that this agreement faced substantial opposition
from a vocal minority in parliament, including but not
limited to the Sadrist Trend, who could prevent a vote. He
commented that many Iraqis still bear a grudge against the UK
as "a former colonizer," and politicians fear public
disapproval of a new, visible British military mission in
Iraq. He added that he would try to rally support for
discussion of the UK Security Agreement but was not
optimistic.
HILL