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10BAGHDAD434 2010-02-18 12:15:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR MEETS UNAMI SRSG TO DISCUSS A

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1. (C) SUMMARY: The Ambassador and UNAMI SRSG Melkert
agreed February 6 to work together to create a robust new
impetus for settlement of Iraq's disputed internal boundaries
(DIBs) following the March 7 election. The USG and UNAMI
will work to establish a broad-based "normalization process"
(term drawn from Article 140) to engage all the ethnic and
religious groups, as well as the Kurdistan Regional
Government (KRG) and the federal government in Baghdad, in a
network of interactions calculated to address near-term
issues of governance and security while also working toward a
final political solution with the broadest possible buy-in.
UNAMI and Embassy Baghdad will continue fleshing out the
concept over coming weeks, and UNAMI will initiate low-key,
informal consultations with the major political parties and
blocs following the election. UNAMI and the USG will also
assist the GOI in conducting a national census, although this
is unlikely to be politically feasible before 2011. END
SUMMARY.

RENEWED FOCUS ON ARTICLE 140 AND DIBS SETTLEMENT


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

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2. (C) On February 6, Ambassador and UNAMI SRSG Ad Melkert
met to discuss a way forward on Iraq's disputed internal
boundaries (DIBs). It was agreed that the Embassy and UNAMI
will work together over coming months to engage the key
parties, including all the ethnic and religious groups, as
well as the KRG and the Baghdad central government, in a
significant new push following the March 7 election. The aim
will be to create a broad-based, inclusive process under the
rubric of "normalization," the first phase envisaged by
Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution. UNAMI will begin
informal consultations with the major parties and political
blocs shortly after the election, but before completion of
the government formation process. The consultations will be
calculated to obtain the broadest political buy-in by showing
a "glimpse" of the envisioned "normalization process," and
inviting substantive input and cooperation. The Ambassador
and SRSG agreed that, in order to encourage frank discussion
and minimize political maneuvering by political parties early
on, launch of the consultations will not/not be announced as
a new effort.

NORMALIZATION FRAMEWORK


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3. (C) The fundamental aim of the normalization process will
be to create a forward-looking process with multiple lines of
effort coordinated so as to engage the political parties, as
well as the religious and ethnic groups, in a range of
positive interactions that will address short-term issues of
governance, decrease tensions, and directly foster progress
toward a final political settlement. The Ambassador and SRSG
agreed that Kirkuk would be the initial central focus,
although the process will be formulated so as to incorporate
all three DIBs provinces: Diyala, Kirkuk, and Ninewa.
Existing efforts to address DIBs issues, including internally
displaced persons (IDP) resettlement, the land claims
process, and the UNAMI-chaired High Level Task Force (HLTF)
would all be incorporated into the new framework, possibly
with some restructuring. Additional details of the
normalization process are to be fleshed out over coming weeks
in further interaction between Embassy and UNAMI staff.



4. (C) The normalization process -- also incorporating
"baskets" of substantive issues (political, social, economic,
Q"baskets" of substantive issues (political, social, economic,
security, etc.) -- will, taken as a whole, engage
stakeholders in a multi-year effort which might resemble the
"special status" option identified by UNAMI for Kirkuk.
Senior Advisor for Northern Iraq (SANI) argued that, over
time, against a backdrop of increasing national revenue as
oil exports grow, a normalization process will "in a
best-case scenario" evolve naturally toward a final outcome
acceptable to all. The SRSG agreed that, while it would be
unrealistic to expect 100% consensus, such a normalization
process will offer the best chance to achieve broad buy-in to
a practical outcome.



5. (C) The Ambassador emphasized the need to incorporate in
the normalization process a strong economic development plan,
which capitalizes fully on the rising provincial budget
allocations projected for coming years, especially in Kirkuk.
The SRSG and the Ambassador agree that UNAMI and the USG
will need to remain fully engaged over coming years to knit
together a coherent normalization process and help the Iraqi
participants both to overcome difficulties as they arise and
to keep sight of long-term objectives.

NATIONAL CENSUS


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





6. (C) The SRSG noted UNAMI is prepared to assist the GOI
in conducting a national census as early as October 2010,
although all agreed that it was unlikely, given expected
political developments, that Iraq will be ready to proceed by
that time. The Ambassador reiterated the USG's commitment to
provide technical assistance for a census. SANI pointed out
that the new government will have to address a number of
politically sensitive questions about the methodology and
scope of the census before a date can be set. It was agreed
that the census should be one of the topics of the informal
meetings with political coalitions.
FORD