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Meeting - Security
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211200Z CJ3 JEC USDP EDELMAN AND COHEN DISCUSS IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, MD WITH MOD BOWEN: (Source: AMEMBASSY LONDON 03227, 20 Aug 07)
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(C//NF) USDP EDELMAN AND COHEN DISCUSS IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, MD WITH MOD BOWEN: (Source: AMEMBASSY LONDON 03227, 20 Aug 07) USDP Eric Edelman and Counselor of the State Department Eliot Cohen stressed to UK MOD Policy Director Desmond Bowen the US understanding that HMG would make no major announcements of policy changes regarding Iraq prior to the mid-September briefings to be provided to the US Congress by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. Bowen confirmed that the UK would not make decisions on turning Basra province over to Iraqi security control without approval by MNF-I. He provided no date on when UK forces might hand over Basra Palace to the Iraqis but said that "there is not a lot of (British) military enthusiasm for what''s going on at the Palace." Edelman and Cohen both stressed the critical importance of Basra to US supply lines to and from Kuwait and noted that the Congress would be equally focused on that aspect. Edelman and Cohen told Bowen that the surge has stopped the downward spiral of sectarian violence in Baghdad and that there are positive signs in Anbar and Diyala provinces. On Afghanistan, Edelman raised DEA''s interest in embedding operatives among British forces in Helmand province; both sides agreed that it was necessary to move on counter-narcotics operations in Afghanistan. Edelman noted that NATO forces had done a good job disrupting Taliban operations in southern Afghanistan. Cohen described an "alarmingly rapid increase" in Iranian presence in Afghanistan. Bowen concurred with the US view that a regional approach was necessary to deal with Iranian activities across the board. Classification: CONFIDENTIAL / NOFORN