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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
10BRUSSELS215 2010-02-24 13:10:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Brussels
Cable title:  

BELGIUM:ENCOURAGING ISAF CONTRIBUTIONS FOR ANF

Tags:   PREL PGOV MARR EAID AF BE 
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DE RUEHBS #0215 0551310
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0053
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L BRUSSELS 000215 

SIPDIS

STATE PASS EUR/WE MAUREEN CORMACK AND ROBERT MARCUS,
EUR/RPM RAPHAEL CARLAND AND AARON COPE, AND SCA/A ANTHONY
RUSH

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/22/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR EAID AF BE
SUBJECT: BELGIUM:ENCOURAGING ISAF CONTRIBUTIONS FOR ANF
TRAINERS

REF: STATE 14366

Classified By: Acting DCM Andrea Nelson for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).



1. (C) On February 19, Acting PolEconCouns delivered reftel
talking points, requesting more trainers for the Afghan
security forces from Belgium and other ISAF countries, to
Gilles De Kerchove at the MFA. De Kerchove confirmed that
NATO's request for 22 trainers from Belgium and more general
assistance with OMLT's and POMLTs, caveats and NTM-A trainers
has been received from SACEUR, as also confirmed by sources
in the Ministry of Defense. Defense Minister De Crem has had
two meetings with NATO SecGen Rasmussen where the request was
discussed. De Kerchove said that the primary hurdles to
trainers or other troops is political. He expected a debate
very soon in the Council of Ministers over the NATO request,
which the MOD is now studying and for which it is preparing a
proposal to the Council. De Kerchove believes the debate,
both on trainers and on the broader issue of Belgium's
participation in ISAF, will turn on issues of how effective
the military and civilian effort in Afghanistan is and the
outlook for Afghanistan's future. According to De Kerchove,
the more conservative MR (francophone liberal) and CD&V
(Flemish Christian Democrat) parties in the government will
more than likely support the NATO request. De Kerchove said
he is unsure about the positions of other coalition members,
the Flemish Open VLD (liberal) and the CdH (francophone
"humanist"/Christian Democrat). De Kerchove sees the head of
the CdH, Minister for Employment and Equal Opportunity Joelle
Milquet, as likely opposed.



2. (C) De Kerchove said he saw the Ambassador's recent
efforts at opening a public debate on doing more for
Afghanistan as a good thing, since the government would not
easily bring it onto its agenda otherwise. He added that
Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanackere said in December that
Belgium favors a continuation of the effort in Afghanistan,
albeit with a more pronounced accent on training. The
Ministry of Development Cooperation is receiving proposals
for how to spend the 12 million euros it has budgeted for
humanitarian and development assistance for Afghanistan, but
De Kerchove has not heard of any move to increase the
Ministry's budget for the country, which is now less than 1%
of its overall budget for assistance. He said that the two
police and one magistrate selected for service in Afghanistan
will complete their training by May 7 and be ready to deploy
by June. He expects that these trainers will be sending in
their "lessons learned" by the fall, which could help to
encourage the GOB to send more. He expects the reports will
highlight the pressing need for police training.



3. (C) In the course of the conversation, De Kerchove
observed that the United States and President Obama may be
more effective advocates for doing more in Afghanistan among
NATO allies than NATO SecGen Rasmussen. Rasmussen is seen as
imperious based on his former status as a prime minister, as
ignoring the North Atlantic Council, failing to listen to the
NATO Allies' opinions, and failing to deal with financial
problems in the organization. He said that Belgian defense
attaches in Washington are hearing similar concerns from the
USG.

GUTMAN
.