Dr Hassan Aydinli, ITF EU Representative and Mr. Dominic Porter, Deputy Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq, European External Action Service
Representatives of the Iraqi Embassy and Representatives of Iraq's ethnic/religious groups in the EU Capital attended the conference
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT BRUSSELS, 27th March 2012
MEPs attending the conference:
Chair: Mr Struan Stevenson
Ms. S. Costa da Silva
Mr. Andres Perello Rodriguez
The Chair opened the meeting by saying that last week MEPs held a joint meeting with AFET and Mr. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN SG and Head of UNAMI.
He informed that on 22nd December 2011, the Council authorised the signature of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Iraq, which marks the first contractual relation EU-Iraq. The PCA remains to be signed by Ms. Catherine Ashton and Mr. Hoshyar Zebari.
MEP Struan Stevenson strongly condemned the series of recent attacks in Iraq and extended his condolences to the victims and their families. He said that there is a great need for a strong government in Iraq to ensure security.
The Chair said he is glad that Al-Iraqiya has ended its boycott.
MEP Struan Stevenson said he wishes all the best to the Summit of the Arab League which will take place in Iraq on 28-29 March 2012 and said that after the Summit Iraq will hold the presidency of the Arab League for one year.
The Chair informed that he is expecting the visit of parliamentarians from Iraq next month.
Regarding Camp Ashraf he said that there are still some problems, the main issue is the resettlement of refugees from Camp Liberty.
MEP Struan Stevenson said that the Iraq Delegation's visit to Iraq which was planned to take place during the week 29th October 2012 is not appropriate as most Iraqi parliamentarians will be absent for 'Eid. The other possibility would be from 27th - 31st August 2012, the date of the visit will be finalised with the Iraqi Embassy in Brussels.
Mr. Dominic Porter, Deputy Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq, European External Action Service took the floor and spoke about the regional situation. He said that the EU has been invited to the Summit of the Arab States, Mr. Pierre Dumont will represent Ms. Catherine Ashton. This will mark the end of the isolation of Iraq (since 1978). Turkey, Iran, the US have not been invited.
Mr. Porter said that very constructive work had been realised between Iraq and Kuwait.
He said that since 2005 Turkey has taken a pragmatic approach, contrary to the Gulf States.
Regarding the domestic situation, Mr Porter said it remains very complicated. The Constitution issues still need to be resolved, Artcile 140, Kirkuk, Hydrocarbon Law, Revenue Sharing ...
Iraq will come out of Chapter VII as soon as all problems are resovled with Kuwait.
Regarding EU relations with Iraq, he said that EU's values must be promoted and also EU's interests. The EU is committed in the long term to assist Iraq in consolidating democracy and human rights and in solving vulnerable minorities issues.
The PCA will no doubt provide a deeper and more permanent dialogue between Iraq and the EU.
ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli spoke to MEP Struan Stevenson, he raised the question of the Turkmens’ unresolved property claims, saying that after 9 years of regime change in Iraq and despite the creation of a Property Claims Commission and a of special Tribunal to deal with the problems of confiscated properties during the former regime as well as the allocation of the equivalent of 200 million US $ to compensate the victims, the majority of the dispossessed Turkmen farmers and landlords have still not received any compensation, whereas the Kurds and Arabs have been compensated. This is a flagrant discrimination against the Turkmens.
He informed MEP Struan Stevenson that from the 42.000 files submitted to the Tribunal by the Turkmens less than 4000 have been processed to-date.
Dr Aydinli asked MEP Stevenson to put this item on the agenda of the next EU Parliament’s Iraq Delegation meeting in order to put some pressure on the Iraqi government to solve this problem.