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WikiLeaks: 2010-02-12: 10VATICAN26:
Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See Critical of USG Iraq Policies

by WikiLeaks. 10VATICAN26: February 12, 2010.

Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 10:28 AM UT


Viewing cable 10VATICAN26, C) IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO THE HOLY SEE CRITICAL OF USG IRAQ

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
10VATICAN26 2010-02-12 14:50 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vatican
VZCZCXRO2618
PP RUEHBC RUEHDBU RUEHDH RUEHFL RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHNP
RUEHPW RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHROV #0026 0431450
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 121450Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY VATICAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1257
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHROV/AMEMBASSY VATICAN 1297
C O N F I D E N T I A L VATICAN 000026 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  2/12/2020 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PREF KIRF IZ VT
SUBJECT: (C) IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO THE HOLY SEE CRITICAL OF USG IRAQ POLICIES. 
 
REF: A. BAGHDAD 109 
     B. VATICAN 134 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Rafael P. Foley, Pol Chief. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 

1.  (C) Summary:  The Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See, Albert 
Yelda, told the Ambassador in a recent meeting that he supports 
the exclusion of former Baathists candidates from the March 2010 
parliamentary elections in Iraq (ref. A).  Yelda said USG 
efforts to include former Baathists are an interference on 
Iraq's domestic affairs.  At the same time, Yelda thought it was 
premature to withdraw U.S. troops, and added there should be a 
permanent human rights international commission in Iraq to 
safeguard the rights of minorities.  Yelda was dismissive of 
U.S. efforts to counter Islamic extremism, and of the Vatican's 
dialogue with Muslims.  Looking forward, Yelda thought the U.S. 
should support organizations denouncing extremism and pressure 
Arab countries to do more to stop financial aid for Al-Qaeda and 
Islamic fundamentalism.  End summary. 
 
 
2.  (C) Ambassador and polchief paid a courtesy call on 
Ambassador Yelda on February 4.  As his assistant recorded with 
a video-camera, Yelda thanked the Ambassador for the U.S. 
liberation of Iraq and the ultimate sacrifice of so many young 
American soldiers.  Then, without his assistant, Yelda 
complained that the U.S. was pressuring the GOI to allow former 
Baathists to run in the March parliamentary elections.  This, 
Yelda said, would go against the Iraqi constitution.  Yelda 
spoke at length about the evils of the Baath party and the need 
to ensure that the democratic process does not allow Baathists 
to return to power, just like Nazis were prevented from 
participating in German politics after WWII.  Yelda --who is an 
Assyrian Christian-- did agree that elections should be fair and 
transparent, and that Sunnis should be able to put forward 
candidates, provided they are not Baathists.  He also complained 
about the U.S. engaging Sunni militias and allowing them to be 
part of the Iraqi political process. 
 
 
3.  (C) Yelda criticized the President's decision to withdraw 
U.S. combat troops by the end of 2011 as premature.  He thought 
it was "unnatural" to have a timetable, and that Iraq would need 
at least another ten years to sort issues like the protection of 
Christians and other minorities, the future of Kirkuk and Mosul, 
and sharing of oil revenues.  Yelda said the international 
community should establish a permanent commission for human 
rights in Iraq, to protect religious minorities.  Christians, he 
said, can not trust "anybody" in Iraq, and have left the country 
in large numbers. (Note: while there are no dependable figures, 
there are an estimated 300,000 Christians in Iraq today, down 
from the estimated 800,000 before the war.) 
 
 
4.  (C) Yelda described the Vatican's dialogues with Muslims 
(ref. B) as "useless".  He also thought the USG-supported 
satellite TV stations presenting a balanced view of developments 
in the region were no match against the intolerance and hatred 
widely broadcasted by other channels.  As an example, he 
mentioned the Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi's weekly program in 
Al-Jazeera, which he said is more intolerant than what it might 
first appear.  In response to the Ambassador's question about 
what would be the way forward, Yelda said the U.S. should 
pressure Saudi Arabia and Indonesia to do more to stop 
financial support to Muslim extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan and 
Pakistan, who are spreading a message of intolerance in mosques 
and madrasas. 
 
 
 
5.  (C) Bio note and comment:  Yelda's views are influenced by 
his own background as a Christian and as a political exile 
during Saddam's regime.  As an asylee in London, he co-founded 
with Ayad Allawi the anti-Baath Iraqi Liberation Coalition, 
according to open sources.  Ambassador Yelda has previously 
shared with Embassy officials his strong views about the 
shortcomings of his own government.  In doing so, he has assumed 
the role of advocate for the Christians in Iraq.  He has served 
as the Ambassador to the Holy See since 2004.  Yelda told the 
Ambassador that he might be called back to Iraq after the March 
elections, as part of a general rotation of all overseas 
Ambassadors with the installation of a new government in 
Baghdad.  End comment and bio note. 
 
DIAZ

 



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