Cablegate: Eu Fms' Lunch Discussion with Iraqi Fm Zebari

Published: Tue 13 Jul 2004 04:59 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. (U) Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari had a lunch discussion
with EU FMs during their July 12 General Affairs and External
Council Relations meeting in Brussels. As described by Dutch
FM and GAERC Chair Bernard Bot, EU support for Iraq is
"demand driven" and therefore today's lunch was an
opportunity for FM Zebari to indicate areas in which the EU
could make a contribution, mentioning such areas as
reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, elections, and
administrative capacity. In the formal GAERC Conclusions,
the EU agreed to launch a political dialogue with the IIG
(Bot said a meeting at head of government level was likely in
September in New York); "examine rapidly with the Iraqi
Authorities and the UN the possible modalities of EU support
for the preparation of elections"; send an exploratory EU
mission on rule of law assistance to Iraq "if conditions
permit"; enhance the representation of the EU "as
circumstances permit"; "seek the views of the IIG on the
possibility of an international meeting to support the
transition"; and invite the Commission to look into
application of trade preferences under GSP.
2. (SBU) FM Zebari told the press he had asked the EU to
provide more aid and do so more flexibly. He also stressed
the IIG's interest in the EU increasing its political
visibility in Iraq, including via the opening of an EU office
in Baghdad. According to Belgian FM Michel's background
briefing to the press, External Relations Commissioner Patten
told Zebari that the EC was already very flexible in how it
has applied the EU's rules on assistance. Michel also
reported that Patten noted concern that public procurement
rules needed to be respected in Iraq, and that these
procurements rules should be set by the IIG, not the
Coalition. In response to FMs' queries about how Iraqi
minorities would be involved in the political process, Michel
said that Zebari replied by noting the role of the national
conference in this issue, and asked the EU to help facilitate
dialogue both among Iraqi factions and with neighboring
3. (SBU) Several EU FMs are also reported to have raised
concerns with Zebari about the restoration of the death
penalty. Zebari expressed his own personal distaste for
capital punishment, but noted to EU ministers that under
Saddam's regime there were over a hundred capital crimes, a
number that would be reduced sharply by the new government.
With the press, Zebari said he understood the EU's position,
but that Iraq faces serious terrorist challenges, and the
reality on the ground requires some tough decisions and
actions to bring the security situation under control. The
issue was left unresolved, although may remain a point of
discussion. As Belgian FM Michel put it, "we (the EU) will
help them, but they have to respect human rights."
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