Extraordinary joint meeting with the "Permanent ad hoc Delegation of relations with Iraq" on Wednesday 16 April 2008 at the European Parliament in Brussels
Exchange of views with H.E. Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq.
The Ambassador of Iraq in Brussels, Mr. Mohammed J. Al-Doreki, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Mr. Hoshyar Zebari were present.
As usual in such meetings only MEPs of the AFET Committee are allowed to put questions to the guest speaker. Before the meeting started, Dr Hassan Aydinli talked to several MEPs and asked them to question the Iraqi Prime Minister about the Turkmens and the issue of Kerkuk.
He said that Iraq is prepared to hold provincial elections on 1st October 2008 and that these elections would be free and fair and that no interference of militias and outlaws would be tolerated, any party that has armed groups or militias will not take part in the election.
To the question about the withdrawal of US troops, Mr. Al-Maliki said that a sudden withdrawal of US troops would create confusion, that the withdrawal should be organized and planned.
Below is the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) Press release:
"We were delighted to welcome the Prime Minister today at an extremely well attended meeting. Both he and the MEPs present tackled serious and challenging issues, but the overriding sentiment of the meeting was that Iraq and the EU should continue to build on their already very close relationship".
"The Prime Minister tackled a number of difficult questions, not least regarding his country's relationship with Iran. He emphasised that the EU, rather than providing direct aid, could help Iraq by providing technical assistance and expertise to increase its ability to use existing natural resources".