INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Cflcc/Moi Sign Border Mou

Published: Wed 6 Jul 2005 01:26 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
061326Z Jul 05
UNCLAS KUWAIT 003037
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELTN KTIA MARR MOPS PBTS PGOV KU IZ
SUBJECT: CFLCC/MOI SIGN BORDER MOU
REF: 03 KUWAIT 5314 AND PREVIOUS
This cable is sensitive but unclassified; please protect
accordingly. Not for Internet distribution.
1. (SBU) Summary: On July 4, CFLCC and GOK Ministry of the
Interior signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines
the terms of use for the Coalition Crossing point on the
Kuwait/Iraq border. This agreement entrusts the U.S.
military with significant responsibility for control of one
of the most heavily-used border crossings in Kuwait. Next
steps include convening the bilateral working group created
by the MOU to ensure its orderly implementation. End summary.
2. (SBU) On July 4, following 18 months of intermittent
negotiations, Coalition Forces Land Components Command
(CFLCC) and the GOK Ministry of the Interior signed a
memorandum of understanding (text faxed to NEA/ARPI)
regarding cooperation at the Coalition forces border crossing
between Kuwait and Iraq. The agreement acknowledges "the
trust placed in the United States by Kuwait for day-to-day
management of the Coalition Forces Crossing." This crossing
point is the main artery used by Coalition troops and convoys
in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The U.S.
military has manned the crossing since the beginning of OIF
under informal, ad hoc arrangements with Kuwaiti Customs and
the Ministry of Interior.
3. (SBU) Notwithstanding these agreements, on four separate
occasions the border crossing was closed with little or no
warning due to misunderstandings or lack of coordination,
resulting in serious disruptions in OIF traffic. The MOU
acknowledges significant U.S. military responsibilities for
convoy inspections and contractor identification issues. The
agreement will facilitate border traffic and it establishes a
mechanism for conflict resolution that is designed to
preclude arbitrary border closings in the future. Next steps
include convening the bilateral working group created by the
MOU to ensure its orderly implementation.
4. (U) Americas Department Director Ambassador Khalid
Al-Babtain hosted the signing ceremony at the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs. Local press attended the event and followed
with prominent newspaper coverage. The Kuwait side was
represented by Ibrahim Al-Ghanim, Director of Customs,
Ministry of Finance; LTG Nasser Al-Othman, Undersecretary,
Ministry of the Interior (MOI); BG Abdullah Al-Muhanna,
Director of the Border Department, MOI; and COL Ratib
Al-Anzi, of the Security Committee of the National Assembly,
among others. The U.S. side consisted of BG William Johnson,
Director, CFLCC Movement and Distribution; and U.S. Embassy
personnel including U.S. Customs Advisor, Econ/C and EconOff.
Brigadier General Johnson signed on behalf of the CFLCC and
Undersecretary Lieutenant General Nasser Ahmed Al-Othman,
MOI, signed on behalf of the GOK.
5. (SBU) Following the signing ceremony, the two sides agreed
to an early meeting of the bilateral working group created by
the MOU. Per the MOU, and in order to reduce the impact of
OIF re-supply operations on Kuwait's civilian traffic, the
U.S. military will move the Coalition Crossing Point to a
location away from Al-Abdaly, the main commercial border
crossing between Kuwait and Iraq at present. Plans call for
Kuwait Immigration, Customs and Border Security to have a
presence at the new Coalition Crossing Point (provisionally
called "K Crossing") to the west of Al-Abdaly. Details for
that new crossing and proposals for an identity card system
for U.S. military contractors and employees will be on the
agenda for the first bilateral working group meeting. LTG
Al-Othman proposed that that meeting take place within the
next week or two and volunteered to arrange for it in
consultation with Embassy and CFLCC. BG Johnson seconded the
call for swift action, noting that the road to K Crossing on
the Iraqi side of the border could be finished within the
next six months. Ideally, he said, the crossing point should
be ready for operation as soon as the road is completed.
*********************************************
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