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Summary: EU Council Conclusions – Iraq (7 November 2005: Brussels)
Council conclusions on Iraq, 2687th EXTERNAL RELATIONS Council meeting, Brussels
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"1. The Council welcomes the 15 October referendum on the Iraqi Constitution as part of Iraq’s continuing political transition leading to a constitutionally elected government based on UNSCR 1546. The referendum on the Constitution marks an important stage in the process of political transition and a further step by the Iraqi people on the road to democracy, freedom and peace, which will continue beyond the transition period. The high turnout of voters from all communities and across the country bears testament to the Iraqi people’s commitment to a process aiming at building a peaceful and democratic Iraq. The Council pays tribute to the courage and determination of those who took part in the voting, braving difficult conditions and the threat of violence. The Council congratulates the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq and the Iraqi authorities on the smooth running of the referendum. It welcomes the support given to the process by the UN.
2. Although a large majority of voters voted in favour of the Constitution, the Council notes that the results of the referendum show there are still substantial divisions to be overcome. In this regard, it looks forward to the implementation of the review mechanism contained in the Constitution after the December elections. The Council believes this offers an important opportunity for the Iraqis to forge a broader consensus on the future of their country and will assist the creation of an inclusive political system. The EU stands ready to support actively in these important efforts. The Council also welcomes the Arab League’s suggestion to work with Iraq in holding a National Dialogue Conference.
3. The Council stresses the importance the EU attaches to the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq and encourages all members of the international community to support the consolidation of democracy in Iraq. The Council welcomes the visit by Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, to Iraq on 20-24 October. The Council encourages Iraq’s neighbours and other countries in the region to re-establish or strengthen diplomatic relations with Iraq at the earliest possibility. It strongly urges regional states, in particular Syria, to support the political process in Iraq, including by co-operating with Iraq to prevent cross-border transit and support for terrorists and insurgents.
4. The Council looks forward to the elections planned for December and urges all Iraqis across the country to participate in them. It encourages the IECI to continue its excellent work in preparing for the December elections, with the support of the UN and including the contribution made by the EU. The EU will provide support to the monitoring process for the December elections, including through supporting the work of domestic election observers.
5. The Council condemns the terrorist acts, murders and hostage-takings which have been committed in Iraq. The Council deplores the campaign of terrorist violence in Iraq which is prolonging the suffering of the Iraqi people and hampering political progress and reconstruction.
6. The Council welcomes the signature of the Joint EU-Iraq Political Declaration during the EU-Iraq Ministerial Troika meeting in New York on 21 September. The Declaration and the regular political dialogue which will now be taken forward under it represent an important step towards closer partnership between the EU and Iraq. In this regard, the Council welcomes the EU Political Directors Troika visit to Baghdad on 24-26 October, during which the first formal dialogue meeting was held.
7. The Council welcomes the improvement in the human rights situation since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime and condemns the atrocities committed by terrorists since then. The Council emphasises the importance of full respect for human rights in Iraq. It underlines the EU’s strong opposition to the use of the death penalty. It notes with concern recent reports, including by the UN, of human rights violations by the Iraqi Security Forces. It urges the Iraqi Transitional Government to address all allegations of human rights abuses in a decisive and transparent manner. The EU stands ready to offer further support in this area, noting the contributions already being made by the Member States and the Commission to strengthening human rights and the Rule of Law in Iraq.
8. The Council commends the ongoing work of the EU’s Rule of Law mission for Iraq (EUJUST LEX), and the training it is providing for over 700 Iraqi judicial, police and prison personnel. The Council notes the ITG’s request to extend the mission beyond the end of its current mandate and to expand the scope of the training provided, and invites relevant Council bodies to consider this. The Council reiterates its support for the Commission’s preparations to undertake complementary work in this field.
9. The Council reaffirms the EU’s continuing support to the reconstruction of Iraq. The Council welcomes the Commission’s ongoing work to assist in capacity building in Iraq’s administration and institutions as well as the provision of further assistance in the field of basic services. The Council notes the progress towards the establishment of a Commission office in Baghdad. The Council welcomes the establishment of the Sector Working Groups by the ITG, with the support of the UN, and notes the positive contribution they are making to the co-ordination of donor activity. The Council notes the leading role being played by the EU in the Rule of Law Sector Working Group.
10. The Council reaffirms the importance of creating the conditions for socio-economic development that can benefit all Iraqis. To this end, it welcomes that the process of Iraq’s WTO accession is underway and looks forward to the establishment of contractual trade and co-operation relations between the EU and Iraq."