Oct 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2596.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2596
2007-08-02 04:03
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002596

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR D AND EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2027
TAGS: ASEAN ETRD PREL EXBS AU IZ APEC
SUBJECT: THE DEPUTY SECRETARY’S MEETING WITH AUSTRALIAN FM DOWNER

Classified By: Deputy Secretary John Negroponte, reasons 1.4 c, d

¶1. (C) SUMMARY. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John
Negroponte and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer
discussed U.S. involvement in Iraq and Secretary Rice’s
attendance at the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) Ministerial Meetings in Sydney during an August 1
meeting on the margins of ARF in Manila. Foreign Minister
Downer expressed his support for a continued U.S. military
presence in Iraq and requested that the Australian Government
be informed of any planned shifts in U.S. policy towards
Iraq. END SUMMARY

LEVEL OF U.S. MILITARY INVOLVEMENT IN IRAQ

¶2. (C) Foreign Minister Alexander Downer opened the
discussion by observing that the U.S. was engaged in an
intense domestic debate over the future of its role in Iraq.
The FM sought clarification on whether the American military
commitment to Iraq might change in the months ahead. This is
of particularly importance to the Australian Government
because of approaching elections in November. FM Downer’s
greatest concern was of any “sudden moves” in U.S. policy in
Iraq prior to the November elections. The FM visited Iraq
approximately one month ago and said that he would be
“horrified” if the U.S. were to suddenly leave or downsize
its presence in Iraq significantly. The Australian
Government’s decision to support the U.S.-led invasion and
its continued presence in Iraq remain unpopular with many
Australians. However, the FM and the Australian Prime
Minister were committed to continue arguing the case to the
Australian people because they truly believe it is the right
policy.

¶3. (C) The FM said that he had received signals from the
Pentagon that the U.S. was considering “changing the mission”
in Iraq and asked what impact that might have on the
Australian presence in Iraq. He expressed his support for
U.S. military commanders in Iraq, in particular General
Petraeus, and suggested that the Australian Government was
perhaps “a little jumpy” because of British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown’s current U.S. visit, given British military
sentiments on its continued role in Iraq.

¶4. (C) FM Downer shared his personal belief that the 2003
invasion of Iraq was justified when considering what the
world would be like today if Saddam Hussein were still in
power. He also praised Australian-U.S. military cooperation
in Iraq and elsewhere. The Deputy Secretary and FM Downer
acknowledged the challenges facing the U.S. in Iraq and how
this was affecting political discourse in the U.S. They both
agreed that the large majority of Iraqis would not favor a
sudden withdrawal of U.S. forces.

¶5. (C) During FM Downer’s recent visit to Iraq, he held two
meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Malaki in which he
stressed the need for the Iraqi government to demonstrate
reconciliation among competing religious and ethnic groups.
FM Downer believes that Iraq faces a problem common to many
developing countries in which people regularly vote along
sectarian lines: the group that loses the election feels they
will continue to fall behind in the democratic process, which
only deepens their sense of alienation. He gave the example
of Zimbabwe to reinforce this point while commending
President Jose Ramos Horta of East Timor for working to
ensure an inclusive government.

¶6. (C) FM Downer expressed his appreciation for U.S.
leadership in Iraq and other parts of the world in instances
when a strong American role is required. But unfortunately,
he said, local populations and global public opinion often
refuse to fully appreciate American contributions. The FM
assured the Deputy Secretary that anti-American sentiments
were not rampant in Australia.

SECRETARY OF STATE’S ATTENDANCE AT APEC MINISTERIAL MEETINGS

SIPDIS

MANILA 00002596 002 OF 002

¶7. (C) The discussion moved to Asia Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) where the U.S. Secretary of State’s
attendance at the upcoming Ministerial Meetings in Sydney
would be very much appreciated. FM Downer suggested it would
be ideal if the Secretary of State would attend the
Ministerial Meetings for the full two days. The FM concluded
by saying that Iraq and APEC were the two primary issues that
he had wanted to focus on during the bilateral meeting. The
Deputy Secretary of State confirmed that he would keep
Australia informed of developments with respect to Iraq and
APEC.

¶8. (C) August 1, 2007; 10:30 AM; Manila, Philippines
¶9. (C) Participants:

U.S.
John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State
Ted Wittenstein, D/Sec Staff Member
Colleen Kelly, D/Sec Staff Member
Kevin Donahue, U.S. Embassy Manila (USAID), note taker

AUSTRALIA
Alexander Downer MP, Foreign Minister
H.E. Tony Hely, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines
Andrew Goledzinowski, Senior Advisor to the Foreign Minister
Tony Parkinson, Senior Advisor to the Foreign Minister
Gillian Bird, Deputy Secretary
Peter Callahan, Assistant Director General, AusAID

KENNEY

   

 

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