ITF EU representative Dr Hassan Aydinli attended the Iraq Delegation Meeting at the EU Parliament

June 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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From left to right: H.E. Ambassador Mohammed Abdullah Al-Humaimidi, Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq in Brussels; one of the members of the Delegation from Iraq;  Mr. Labid Abbawi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iraq; Dr. Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative.

Ms. Camelia Oaida, Committee Secretariat; The Chair, MEP Struan Stevenson; H.E. Ambassador Al-Humaimidi; Mr. Labid Abbawi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iraq

EU Parliament Brussels, 19th June 2012

MEPs present: Mr. Tunne Kelam, Mr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Mr. Perrello Rodriguez, Ms Ana Gomez, Ms Esther de Lange

Mr. Labid Abbawi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iraq and Mr. Gorges Bakoos, Advisor of the Prime Minister of Iraq were accompanied by a large delegation from Iraq from the  Justice, Human Rights and Interior Ministries.

Other attendees :

Representatives of the Iraqi Embassy in Brussels

For the Iraqi Turkmens: Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Mrs Merry Fitzgerald, Europe-Turkmens Friendships

For the Iraqi Kurds: Representatives of KRG and PUK (based in Brussels)

Representatives of the different EU institutions

A large U.S. Foreign Affairs Delegation

3 former residents of Camp Ashraf

Several journalists

Chair’s announcements:

MEP Struan Stevenson began by welcoming the Iraqi delegation.

He said he strongly condemns the series of attacks in Iraq and he presented his condolences to the families of the victims.

Please see the Chair’s statement: Struan Stevenson MEP Statement

Exchange of views on the political situation in Iraq

The Chair deplored the fact that Iraq has not yet appointed a Minister for Security.

He said that an interparliamentary meeting would take place at the end of September 2012. A political, Human Rights and Economics dialogue is needed.

He said he would like to hear Iraq’s position on Syria.

Regarding Camp Ashraf, the Chair said that there are failures on the part of Iraqis to respect the rights and needs of the residents. He said that if there was enough time he would give the floor to the 3 former Camp Ashraf residents who attended the meeting to give their testimony.

The Chair gave the floor to Mr. Labid Abbawi, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iraq:

Mr. Labid Abbawi said that Iraq inherited the legacy of the old regime, but that all political forces are working for a federal, democratic, pluralistic Iraq. Iraq must transform itself to attain an equilibrium. To have security it is necessary to have political stability. General security has improved, but unfortunately some foreign countries are financing terrorism inside Iraq. Iraqi security forces are now better armed but they still have to do more in intelligence to combat terrorism.

Regarding the political situation Mr. Labid Abbawi said that he was optimistic, provided Iraq is left alone, without foreign interference.  He said that Iraq wants to use its own judgement in solving Iraqi problems, it does not accept outside interference regarding appointments of politicians.  What Iraq needs is international support. He added that Iraq is the first country in the Arab world who got rid of dictatorship.

He said that one aspect of the democratic process in Iraq was the hosting of the Arab League, the summit was most successful. Iraq has also hosted the 5+1 meeting which is a mark of success.

He added Iraqis lack comprehension of ‘democracy’ that there is still a long way to go. For the development of democratic process and training in Human Rights, Iraq welcomes help from friends in well established democratic countries.

He said that the new democracy in Iraq has to overcome many challenges. Iraq needs to pass a lot of legislations,  the hard situation in which Iraq was during the last 9 years and still is today have prevented the issuing of these legislations, terrorist elements are unfortunately still active in Iraq.

Mr. Labid Abbawi said that the main issue is to get Iraq out of Chapter Seven. The only remaining problem is relations with Kuwait. He said that Iraq has held joint meetings with Kuwait, that they had agreed on several aspects of the border line, of maritime border, on questions of compensation and properties to be returned to Kuwait. He said that in October/November the Kuwaiti Prime Minister would visit Iraq accompanied by a Kuwaiti delegation. He added that he expected they would sign an agreement in March 2013. Then Iraq will go to the Security Council to ask to be taken out of Chapter Seven. Mr. Labid Abbawi added :”We look to the EU for cooperation”.

On the Erbil agreement Mr. Labid Abbawi said that each group interprets the Iraqi Constitution in his own understanding and interests. That Iraq had inherited sectarian divisions from Bremer time and that this needs to be tackled.

On relations with Syria Mr. Labid Abbawi said that Iraq supports the democratic rights of all Arabs, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and in Syria. Iraq supports the people who fight tyranny, you cannot stand against the tide of the people. Iraq supports Kofi Anan’s 6 point piece plan in Syria, Iraq does not want a civil war in Syria. Iraq is against outside interference in Syria, it is afraid that this will lead to civil war. The Arab League has tried to bring the Syrian opposition together but was not successful. Mr. Labid Abbawi said that he had met the Syrian opposition in Istanbul but that they are split. He added that Iraq had tried everything with the Syrian regime but they are not responsive.

The Chair gave the floor to H.E. Ambassador Al-Humaimidi

Ambassador Al-Humaimidi said: ” Yes, Iraq has political problems, but yes, we Iraqis can find a solution because we have no other choice.”

Regarding Syria Ambassador Al-Humaimidi said that Iraq does not want terrorists in Syria to succeed. Iraq has a 600 km border with Syria and has 400.000 Iraqis still residing in Syria. He said : “We have to stick to the Baghdad Declaration, support Syria , condemn all violence, support Kofi Anan’s initiative.”

The Chair then gave the floor to Mr. Gorges Bakoos, Advisor of the Prime Minister of Iraq:

Regarding Camp Ashraf/Camp Liberty Mr. Gorges Bakoos said the Iraqi authorities were doing their best to make the residents’ life as comfortable as possible while they were waiting to be resettled  abroad.  He said most of camp Ashraf people have no legal status in Iraq, up to 15/06/2012 only 262 have been granted refugee status by UNHCR.  He added that the Iraqi government will never hesitate to implement all requirements and that it is working with UNAMI but that the residents always introduce new demands and refuse to come to the meetings Mr. Gorges Bakoos asked the EU Parliament to put pressure on their leadership in Paris and he handed  documents showing that the Iraqi government is implementing all requirements to the Chair.

The Chair declared that he has continuous complaints from the residents of Camp Ashraf/Camp Liberty, he said that in reality all these promises are not being implemented.  He said that Camp Liberty is a refugee camp where people will have to stay a long time. He also mentioned two massacres which have taken place in Camp Ashraf.

The Chair then gave the floor to MEP Alejo Vidal Quadras

MEP Vidal Quadras said it is good to discuss face to face, adding that all the info the EU Parliament has is completely different from what Mr. Gorges Bakoos  had said. Addressing the Iraqi delegation he said that the Iraqi government should apologize for killing 41 innocent people (among whom women and children) in Camp Ashraf. He added that the EU Court of Justice has ruled that Ashraf Camp people are not terrorists, therefore you should respect their rights.

Mr. Labid Abbawi answered that this was a lot of smears and lies, Iraqis know who are the Camp Ashraf people “we have films showing they were fighting against our people during the uprising, we consider them as terrorists and we will not allow them to build another organization”.

Addressing MEP Vidal Quadras Mr. Lahib Abbawi said that 12 of the Camp Ashraf residents who wanted to seek refuge in Spain were considered ‘security risks’ by the Spanish government.

Mr. Gorges Bakoos added that Iraq has spent many millions to improve the living conditions of the residents, all facilities are provided to Ashraf Camp residents who have been transferred to Camp Liberty.  Camp Liberty was a U.S Camp, it has housed 5500 U.S troops, it has all the facilities, electricity, water, etc. We are providing  every Camp Liberty resident with 200 liters water/day. Iraq has spent 1 million US $ for water purification. Their food is coming from Kuwait, without any restrictions, Iraq has spent 200 millions for the trucks transporting their food. According to HR requirements all is provided to them. It is false to say that they suffer from lack of electricity, the Camp was used by 5.500 U.S. military troops, it has 18 generators + 14 extra generators, these people do not stop complaining,  while no Iraqi citizen has 24hrs electricity per day.

The Chair thanked the Iraqi Ambassador and all the members of the Iraqi delegation for their presence at the meeting.

 

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