EUROPEA/ U/IO/ Brussels, 18 June 2013
Statement by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton
following her visit to Iraq
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice
President of the Commission issued the following statement today:
"During my visit to Iraq, I met in Baghdad with Prime Minister Maliki, Speaker of the Council of
Representatives "ujaifi, Deputy Prime Minister Shahristani and Foreign Minister Zebari and I also
travelled to Erbil where I met with the President and Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region.
I stressed that Iraq’s democracy and stability are important not only for Iraq itself but for the whole
region. I welcomed recent efforts to ease tension and called on all parties to work together to
address political and governance issues through dialogue. I encouraged the consolidation of
democratic gains through strong and efficient institutions – a key element in any democratic system.
I condemned the wave of attacks that has taken place in the recent weeks in many Iraqi cities, and I
extended my condolences to the families of the victims. The escalation of violence is a cause of
serious concern, and I encouraged all political forces to create a strong and common front against
all forms of violence.
We also discussed the difficult regional context and in particular the negative impact on Iraq of the
Syrian crisis. I commended the recent efforts to agree outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait.
I was also pleased to sign the agreement to make available 4 million euros of EU financing to fund
the EU-Iraq Energy Centre.
The EU has consistently supported Iraq’s democratic transition and will continue to stand
alongside the country to help it meet the challenges that it faces. The EU wants Iraq to be an
important political and economic partner and looks forward to further strengthening bilateral ties,
notably on the basis of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that we signed last year." _____________