Wednesday, 13th July 2011
The Honourable Osama al-Nujaifi, President of the Iraqi Parliament was welcomed on Tuesday, 12 July in Brussels by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and the President of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq.
Mr. al-Nujaifi, who was heading a delegation of ten Iraqi MPs on the visit to the EU, attended a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Delegation for Relations with Iraq. At the meeting, he explained about the current economic, political and security situation in Iraq, requesting assistance from the European Parliament and the EU to solve these issues.
During the meeting both Mr Nujaifi and MEPs stressed the need to end human rights violations in Iraq. Struan Stevenson emphasised his concerns over the failure to implement the Erbil Agreement which was the key instrument agreed by all of the political factions to create a national unity government. He also expressed concern at the failure to create a National Council for Strategic Policies and to appoint Ministers of Defence, Interior and Security, stating that the concentration of power over the intelligence services, security apparatus and Iraqi military in the office of the Prime Minister was dangerously undemocratic.
Both sides agreed actively to support the expansion of the EU’s role in the reconstruction of Iraq, on the clear understanding that the Erbil agreement must be implemented and the human rights situation, together with respect for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities and foreign refugees in Iraq, improved.
Some members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, by referring to several resolutions in the European Parliament on Camp Ashraf, expressed their grave concern over the situation there and the massacre on 8 April which resulted in the death of 36 unarmed civilians and over 340 wounded. They demanded an independent, international enquiry into the massacre.
Mr Al-Nujaifi, the President of the Iraqi parliament said: “We condemn the use of violence against these political refugees at Camp Ashraf and the loss of many lives there. An independent committee has to investigate the attack. We support the European solution of resettling the residents in third countries and if they can be transferred to Europe, it will be a logical solution. A plan proposed by the Americans to displace them inside Iraq has been rejected by all parties and we regard it unacceptable and we back the solution of third countries. We hope that the human rights of these political refugees would be respected and we regret what happened to them.”
Struan Stevenson also unveiled his initiative to hold a major conference on INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN IRAQ over two days on 5-6 December in Brussels, with the president of Iraq, the president of the European Commission, the president of the European Parliament and the Prime Minister of Poland attending. This conference will discuss energy, agriculture and trade, involving respective commissioners and ministers from Iraq. Mr Stevenson said that the EU will invite business and industry leaders from across Europe to attend and that this will highlight great opportunities to create jobs and prosperity in Iraq and to kick-start the Iraqi economy. This was widely supported by the Iraqi delegation.
Struan Stevenson MEP
President, Delegation for Relations with Iraq