Madam Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Deputy-Prime Minister,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Serbia, as well as Ukraine, Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.
The European Union would like to thank the United Nations, and particularly the Deputy Secretary General, for hosting this meeting, which was very timely, and gives the Government of Iraq an opportunity to present the latest developments in the implementation of the International Compact.
The European Union would like also to thank the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Barham Saleh, for the very interesting presentation of the Mid-Year Progress Report. We commend the Government of Iraq for the preparation of this very comprehensive report. We are committed to study this document closely and look forward to further opportunities to exchange views with our Iraqi partners, the United Nations and other supporters of the Compact.
The European Union welcomed the launching of the International Compact with Iraq on 3 May 2007 in Sharm El Sheikh. We hereby reiterate our strong support to the Compact and its visions for a “secure, unified, federal and democratic Iraq, founded on the principles of freedom and equality, and providing peace and prosperity for its people”.
The European Union commends the Iraqi Government for the ambitious targets it has made in the Compact, which will be instrumental in the development of the co-operation between Iraq and its international partners. The EU stands ready to support Iraq to meet the goals set in the Compact for its economic, political, security and social reform strategies. We believe that progress in those areas will promote the enhancement of EUs engagement with Iraq.
The European Union expresses its appreciation for the important contribution of the United Nations to the Compact process. The European Union reaffirms its support for a central role of the United Nations in Iraq, especially in the political, human rights and humanitarian sectors, and in facilitating international support to Iraq.
The main objective of the European Union is to help Iraq implement the comprehensive and far reaching programme set out in the Compact in the socio-economic areas as well as on political and security issues and ensure that all Iraqis can benefit from Iraq’s resources. This requires strong Iraqi leadership and ownership and demands inclusiveness of the Compact process, broad involvement of the international community and active participation of Iraq’s neighbours and partners in the region. But first of all it needs significant improvement in the security situation and progress on national reconciliation, rule of law and restoration of public order. We welcome Governments of Iraqs plans aimed at addressing the situation of Iraqi IDPs and refugees and we encourage all efforts towards respecting and protecting human rights.
Finally, I would like to recall that the EU has been supporting Iraq and the Iraqi people over the years. The European Community and EU Member States have together provided significant financial assistance and will continue to do so. Since 2003 our assistance has amounted to 14,2 billion euros, including grants, debt relief and loans. Our financial assistance in 2007 is anticipated to reach 1.8 billion euros including grants, debt relief and loans. The European Union has also been supporting the efforts to consolidate the Iraqi institutions, namely the judicial institutions trough developing capacity building and training programmes in the field of rule of law. It is essential that circumstances are created for Iraq to be able to profit from all the resources available.
The EU looks forward to close cooperation with the Iraqi Government and its international partners in advancing the Governments programme based on the commitments made.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation Process.