Cablegate: Status Update: Mou with Coalition Partners On Life,

Published: Mon 28 Dec 2009 10:06 AM
DE RUEHBUL #4152/01 3621006
R 281006Z DEC 09
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: (A) KABUL 3870, (B) KABUL 3981, (C) STOCKHOLM 796, (D)
1. (U) This message contains an action request in para 4
2. (U) Begin Summary. Embassy Kabul continues to engage with
coalition partners who lead Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) in
order to press for conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
on Life, Security and Mobility Support. Embassy Kabul appreciates
support from Washington and Posts in capitals in urging coalition
partners to expeditiously review and conclude these agreements.
This cable provides a status report on the various draft agreements.
End Summary.
2. (U) Embassy Kabul is in the process of significantly increasing
the number of USG civilians at Provincial Reconstruction Teams
(PRTs) and other field locations. Of the 27 PRTs in Afghanistan, 14
are ISAF Coalition-led. There are over 50 U.S. civilians based at
Coalition-led locations, and we hope to deploy many more in the
coming months. In order to facilitate this increase, we are trying
to conclude MOUs that will support such deployments. Currently,
arrangements for accommodation and support of U.S. civilians at
partner PRTs have been ad hoc and informal. Several partners have
asked for an MOU. Assistant Chief of Mission Mussomeli recently
met with ambassadors of all coalition countries that have PRTs in
which the USG has or may seek to place civilians in the coming
months (reftel). He presented them with draft MOUs on Life,
Security and Mobility, which were positively received.
3. (U) A brief summary of the current status of negotiations of the
individual MOUs is outlined below:
-- U.K.: Conclusion of the agreement has slowed as a result of
final technical details, specifically clarification of the monthly
charge per person for life support, which appears to be unusually
high. We are engaging with the UK mission on these points. In
addition, the State Department Office of the Legal Adviser (L) sent
its comments and revisions to the draft we received on December 24,
2009. The revisions will be incorporated and resent to the UK
Embassy and back to L/T legal advisers for review to make sure the
language is non-binding. The UK Financial Manager in Helmand will
contact us on December 26th to discuss the costs.
-- Norway: On November 30, the Norwegians stated that the MOU had
been sent to Oslo on November 18. A follow-up e-mail was sent on
December 19, 2009, requesting a status update on the review of the
MOU. There has been no response yet to the message.
-- Sweden: The Political Counselor in Embassy Stockholm met with
Swedish MFA and MOD personnel on December 21 (Reftel C, D).
Stockholm generally welcomed the agreement, but highlighted several
questions, including concerns related to mobility support
requirements, the impact of the planned U.S. consulate in Mazar, and
the planned opening of a Turkish PRT in Jowzjan Province. We are
preparing a response to the questions.
-- Germany: The Embassy provided responses and revisions on
December 22 to questions and comments posed by Berlin on December
10, including confirmation of approval from the State Department
Legal Adviser to conclude the agreement between the U.S. Embassy
Kabul and the German Ministry of Defense, rather than the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs, given that the documents are nonbinding. At the
request of the German government, the agreement will not provide
mobility support; instead, officers in the North will rely on
self-drive or other means for movement support.
-- Hungary: The MOU was presented to the Ministry of Defense in
Budapest. However, no further information has been provided on the
review of the MOU.
-- Canada: The Canadian Embassy in Kabul provided Embassy Kabul
with its comments to the proposed draft on December 20. Most are
technical changes with one exception relating to mobility, which the
Canadians cannot support as proposed. The Canadian Embassy offered
to meet next week since the Embassy is closed until December 28. We
expect to be able to work through these changes fairly quickly.
-- The Netherlands: The MOU was sent to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs on November 21. The last request for a status check was
sent on December 10, with no response yet. Given that the Dutch are
planning to pull out of Afghanistan, it may not be feasible to enter
into an agreement with The Netherlands for support.
-- Lithuania: The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense provided
Embassy Kabul with a significantly revised draft agreement on
December 18, including confirmation that the agreement would be
between Embassy Kabul and the Lithuanian Ministry of National
KABUL 00004152 002 OF 002
Defense. The agreement was significantly revised and will not be
acceptable as revised. Embassy Kabul and the Senior Civilian
Representative have been in constant contact with Embassy Vilnius
regarding the revisions and a way forward. Embassy Vilnius has
offered to arrange a video conference call to assist in resolving
issues. We also recommend that Washington instruct Embassy Vilnius
to approach the Ministry using the points in paragraph 4 below.
-- France: The MOU was forwarded to the Ministry of Defense and to
the PRT on November 23. The last contact with the French POC was on
December 5, 2009. The French POC stated that they have been busy,
but would get comments back as soon as possible.
-- Spain: The Spaniards have forwarded the document to Madrid for
review. The SCR for RC-West has been in communication with the
Spanish PRT Commander regarding the MOU; however, no revisions or
comments have been forthcoming.
-- Italy: Embassy Rome reports that the Italian Government is
prepared to work with us on the agreement and that the Italian MOD
will be the eventual signer of the agreement. The MOD has passed
back a number of questions, particularly relating to security and
mobility. Embassy Kabul RSO has prepared answers to the Italian
MOD's questions, and Embassy Rome will approach the appropriate
officials in response. Embassy Kabul RSO suggested deleting all
mobility and security language from the MOU given that these issues
will be handled by the RSO when the Consulate opens in Herat. At
the Executive Working Group meeting on December 23, Major General
John Macdonald from USFOR-A agreed with this approach. The SCR for
RC-West is working on draft language which he will forward to Kabul.
Once Embassy Kabul receives the SCR's comments and revisions, a new
draft will be forwarded to Embassy Rome. Additionally, on December
23, Deputy Secretary Lew spoke to Italian MFA Director General for
Political Affairs Stefano Ronca about the MOU for the USG citizens
embedded in the Herat PRT, and strongly urged him to move forward
quickly on an agreed text. Ronca said he was ready to work with us
but cited the reservations of the Italian military regarding the
security language in the MOU.
-- New Zealand: Embassy Wellington delivered a copy of the draft MOU
to the MFA on December 23. As New Zealand does not have a
diplomatic representation in Kabul, we will work through the embassy
to complete the agreement.
4. (U) Action Requested: Embassy Kabul recommends that Department
instruct Embassy Vilnius to approach the Lithuanian Foreign and
Defense Ministries to press them to reconsider the significant
re-write of the proposed agreement. Recommended points are as
-- Your Government recently responded to our proposed draft
Memorandum of Understanding on Life, Security and Mobility Support.
-- This agreement, while not legally binding, would establish a
framework for cooperation for support to U.S. civilians at coalition
led Provincial Reconstruction Teams(PRT) or other bases.
-- Until now, arrangements have been largely ad hoc. A new
framework would provide a mechanism for USG payment to coalition
partners for support services provided to U.S. civilians at PRTs or
other bases.
-- We are working on similar agreements with all other coalition
partners that host PRTs in Afghanistan where U.S. civilian are
housed. Your government is the only one that has significantly
revised our proposed text.
-- We would appreciate if you would take another look at our
proposed text and see if we can work from the original draft.
-- Some specific changes that are not acceptable include:
1. Revisions to our definitions, particularly on SCR and Chief of
2. The settlement of claims in accordance with the NATO SOFA.
3. Inclusion in Annex A of Lithuanian internal procedures on
governing relations between the Lithuanian MOD and civilians.
4. Deletion of Embassy Kabul's Annex A setting forth cost
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