|Wikileaks:||View 05BAGHDAD2936 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||ECON EAID PGOV PREL PINR EAID PGOV PREL PINR IZ IZECON 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 002936 SIPDIS C O R R E C T E D C O P Y - TEXT ADDED (PARA. 1) E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/11/2015 TAGS: ECON, EAID, PGOV, PREL, PINR, EAID, PGOV, PREL, PINR, IZ, IZECON, Parliament, Reconstruction SUBJECT: BARONESS NICHOLSON; IRAQI COORDINATION COMMISSION KEY TO EU DONOR FUNDING Classified By: Charge d' Affaires David M. Satterfield for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) SUMMARY. European Parliament member Baroness Emma Nicholson told Charge on July 9 that the Iraqi Transitional Government must establish a 'coordination commission' in order to receive European Union funding, as well as to provide assurances of accountability. Nicholson worried that the EU 200 million currently in the budget for Iraq construction would be used for other programs if the funds are not soon obligated, which could also be reflected in the 2006 budget. Nicholson envisions a EU delegation working with an Iraqi coordination commission to funnel money through either the World Bank or UN directly to the 'spending' ministries. Expressing concern about this direct funding approach, Charge nonetheless agreed to approach Minister of Planning and Development Barham Salih about the need for such a commission, as well as to suggest that the Iraqi Government develop a prioritized list of feasible projects that the EU could fund. Baroness Nicholson seemed uninformed on recent ITG Progress, woking with BAghdad-based donors including the European Commission/Council rep, developing a new donor coordination mechanism, and fuzzy on the details of even EU assistance procedures. In a meeting with Saleh at the Brussels Conference she gave him the impression that the EU was about to pledge 130 million euros in "new" money, which, when Saleh's staff pursued it, proved to be inaccurate. We would welcome comment/insights from USEU. END SUMMARY. 2. (C) European Parliament member Baroness Emma Nicholson told Charge on July 9 that the Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) must establish a 'coordination commission' in order to receive European Union (EU) funding. Nicholson emphasized the need to get the Iraqis to a point where they can make coherent presentations on their requirements. Charge agreed, noting that the ITG has found it difficult to articulate a strategic vision, particularly with respect to taking the difficult steps. The good and bad news, he continued, is the fact that it is an election year. Government leaders will need to show progress but, because of potential political ramifications, getting them to make those decisions will be difficult. 3. (C) Nicholson pointed to the lack of a donor coordination mechanism and said Minister of Planning and Development Barham Salih is under the mistaken impression that money is pouring into the 'spending' ministries. Charge said that Salih had previously not been in a position to coordinate, but this has since been resolved to USG satisfaction. Nicholson countered that neither the ministries nor ministers can effectively coordinate, and hence the need to begin with some kind of a commission structure on which the EU can "hang its hat." Without that, insisted Nicholson, money will not be forthcoming, even though EU 200 million is currently budgeted for Iraqi reconstruction efforts. There have been other pledges of assistance, said Nicholson, but realizing those pledges is contingent on spending the money currently allocated for reconstruction. 4. (C) Nicholson referred to the EU/Iraqi "Framework for Engagement" the European Parliament adopted on July 6, which she termed a "warning shot" in the context of the upcoming 2006 budget. There is money to be spent on Iraq's reconstruction, but she emphasized that the EU will require "absolute assurance" of a coordination mechanism at the national level. The spending ministries -- which need to convert their wish lists into tangible projects -- should use this mechanism and provide the necessary accountability. If the money is not obligated soon, worried Nicholson, it could be used for other purposes. She was supportive of the PRDC concept, but claimed it is at far too detailed a level for EU consideration at this stage. 5. (C) Nicholson anticipated that the EU would send a delegation to Iraq that would want to work with such an Iraqi coordination commission. Funding, she said, would be funneled through either the World Bank or UN, but the ministries themselves would be able to spend the money. Charge expressed surprise and concern that ministries would have the flexibility to spend the money, pointing out that the U.S. coordinates spending with the ministries, but does not provide them with funding to do with as they please. Nicholson countered that she had lost much support because of "unwelcome" changes in the governments of European states in the course of the last year, so it had taken a great deal of effort to get even to this point. 6. (C) Charge agreed that the USG could press the ITG to engage such a mechanism and would suggest that the Iraqis, specifically Salih, develop a well-scrubbed list of projects, as well as address the EU's concerns about accountability. He noted that Mission personnel are currently in Jordan preparing for the July 18-19 Dead Sea Donors meeting and said he would direct them to coordinate accordingly with Salih. E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/11/2015 TAGS: ECON, EAID, PGOV, PREL, PINR, IZ SUBJECT: BARONESS NICHOLSON; IRAQI COORDINATION COMMISSION KEY TO EU DONOR FUNDING 7. (C) Nicholson suggested that the most fund-worthy projects are those that can deliver tangible results, including those dealing with justice issues, capacity building, rule-of-law, trade associations and unions, civil society, and police training, as well as traditional 'bricks and mortar' projects such as road building. Nicholson said other key areas include providing potable water and gender mainstreaming projects that focus on employment training. However, she voiced concern about the amount of training taking place outside of Iraq, suggesting that future training be conducted in-country to the extent practicable. 8. (C) BIODATA: Baroness Nicholson was first elected to the European Parliament in June 1999 and re-elected in June 2004. She is the Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and a member of the Committee for Human Rights. She was a Member of Parliament for Devon and West Torridge from 1987-1997 and Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party from 1983-1987. Nicholson is also the founder and Chair of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation, which she founded in 1991 to provide emergency aid for refugees in southern Iraq and the Iraqi marshlands. END BIODATA. 9. (U) REO HILLA, REO BASRA, REO MOSUL, and REO KIRKUK, Minimize considered. Satterfield
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