US embassy cable - 05BAGHDAD2452

MFA ZEBARI DISCUSSES SYRIA, IRAQ CONFERENCE, AND THE U.S. ROLE IN THE CONSTITUTION PROCESS

Identifier: 05BAGHDAD2452
Wikileaks: View 05BAGHDAD2452 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2005-06-09 16:30:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PGOV EAID PINS SY LE EU IZ UN National Assembly Parliament Reconstruction
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002452 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/08/2025 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, EAID, PINS, SY, LE, EU, IZ, UN, National Assembly, Parliament, Reconstruction 
SUBJECT: MFA ZEBARI DISCUSSES SYRIA, IRAQ CONFERENCE, AND 
THE U.S. ROLE IN THE CONSTITUTION PROCESS 
 
REF: A. SECSTATE 105225 
     B. BAGHDAD 2427 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission David M. Satterfield for 
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1. (U) THIS IS AN ACTION CABLE. SEE PARAGRAPH 10. 
 
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SYRIAN DEMARCHE POINTS DELIVERED 
-------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On June 8, DCM conveyed REFTEL A demarche points 
regarding Syrian participation at EU - U.S. Brussels 
Conference to Minister of Foreign Affairs Zebari.  Zebari 
said the ITG was in agreement with the U.S. proposed strategy 
on how to manage Syria and had already laid the necessary 
groundwork in a recent meeting with the EU.  Zebari also 
offered that he was not worried about Syrian misbehavior at 
the upcoming Brussels Conference and predicted Syria would 
not cause any problems. 
 
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SYRIA WILL CONTINUE TO PRESENT CHALLENGES 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Discussing recent events in Syria, Zebari opined that 
even the governmental changes announced at the recently held 
Ba'ath Party Congress would have little or no impact on 
Syria's approach to international affairs.  They are set in 
their ways and will not open their system to change said 
Zebari.  Zebari said the Syrians approached the ITG a number 
of times already, but the Iraqis have rejected these 
overtures because the Syrians will give "very, very little" 
in return for our cooperation. 
 
4. (C) DCM emphasized that Iraq has a great deal of leverage 
with Syria at the moment because of its internal problems and 
that this leverage should be used to help force the release 
of Iraqi assets held in Syria and to demand that Syria close 
its border with Iraq to insurgents.  Zebari concurred with 
DCM's sense that it would be impossible to close the borders 
without Syrian cooperation. 
 
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ZEBARI SEES NEED FOR A MORE ACTIVE U.S. ROLE 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Asked to clarify his recent statements in Washington 
regarding the need for more U.S. engagement in Iraqi 
governmental affairs, Zebari stated that the U.S. had swung 
between two extremes during the last two years and the next 
few months called for a more involved posture by he U.S.  The 
U.S. must engage the  political leadership in a pro-active 
manner during the run up to the August 15 constitution 
drafting deadline said Zebari or risk having the process 
delayed and the insurgency take control.  "UNSCR 1546 
authorizes the U.S. to take this role," said Zebari, "and we 
ask for your help during this critical period." 
 
6. (C) DCM emphasized that the U.S. is already highly engaged 
with Iraq's political leadership on this vital issue and that 
the U.S. will continue to do all it can to help the ITG meet 
the August 15 drafting deadline. 
 
------------------------ 
INTERNAL GOVERNMENT RIFT 
------------------------ 
 
7. (C) Discussing the governance issues detailed in REF B, 
Zebari stated that Prime Minister Jafari was not abiding by 
the formal agreement reached between the Kurds and List 169 
during the ITG's formation and that he hoped that the matter 
could be resolved constructively.  Zebari suggested that 
Talabani's memorandum addressing the issue should not be 
presented to Jafari but only used to guide the discussion 
because it would only cause increased resistance to a 
settlement by Jafari.  There are many important issues this 
government must address stated Zebari and this issue is 
standing in the way of helping the Iraqi people with their 
problems. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
JUNE 21 - 22 BRUSSELS CONFERENCE PREPARATIONS 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) DCM stressed the need to speak with a unified voice at 
the Brussels Conference and to have a persuasive and 
well-structured set of presentations that would portray Iraq 
in the most favorable light possible.  The DCM also 
encouraged Zebari to ensure all matters were well coordinated 
throughout the government, especially with the PM's office. 
Zebari agreed with the DCM and offered that he had just 
hosted a planning meeting with all high-level Iraqi 
participants going to the Conference including the MOD, MOI, 
MOF, MOJ, MOPDC, MOT, and the Central Bank's President. 
Zebari stressed that he was very comfortable with how their 
preparations were coming and that the same group would meet 
June 13 to again review the status of their progress. 
 
9. (C) The MFA will serve as the lead agency for planning and 
coordination for the Conference indicated Zebari and revealed 
that he had also formed a working-level group at the Deputy 
Minister level to handle the day-to-day planning and 
preparations for the Conference.  Zebari emphasized that 
Iraq's delegation would be representative of all Iraqis and 
would include people from both inside and outside the 
government including representatives from the IIP, KRG and 
politicians such as Adnan Pacachi. 
 
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IRAQI UN ARREARAGES 
------------------- 
 
10. (C) Zebari indicated that Iraq owes the United Nations 
approximately $20 million in unpaid dues and requested our 
assistance in determining whether this debt could be paid 
from Iraq's escrow account.  BEGIN ACTION REQUET: We would 
appreciate Department and USUN guidance on response to Zebari 
regarding legality of Iraqi use of escrow funds to pay its 
U.N. arrearages.  END ACTION REQUEST. 
 
11. (U) REO HILLA, REO BASRA, REO MOSUL, and REO KIRKUK, 
minimize considered. 
Jeffrey 

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