Statement delivered by H.E. Jean-Maurice Ripert, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I am honoured to speak also 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 Montenegro as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.
Firstly, I would like to thank the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, for his presentation.
The European Union calls for a secure, stable, democratic, prosperous and unified Iraq in which human rights are respected, and is committed to Iraq’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. The European Union welcomes both the progress achieved in improving the security situation and the steps taken towards national reconciliation, with the adoption of the law on provincial elections, the holding of which is essential in reinforcing democracy and the rule of law. The European Union notes the adoption of an amendment to this law stipulating the conditions for the representation of persons belonging to minorities. We hope that elections will be held as planned, in early 2009. As the United Nations Secretary-General stated in his reports, the priority challenge to be met is that of the national reconciliation process and constitutional review.
In the international community, we all have an important role to play in helping the Iraqis:
- The European Union approves the central role taken by UNAMI and welcomes the progress achieved in implementing United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1770 and 1830. The European Union encourages further close cooperation between UNAMI and the Iraqi authorities. In this regard, the European Union would like UNAMI to continue advising and supporting the Iraqi government’s political reforms, which as mentioned earlier, represent a major challenge.
The European Union remains concerned by the human rights situation, particularly that of women, children and persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, and welcomes the commitment made by the Iraqi government to take action in this area. In this respect, the EU supports the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and recalls the need to provide extra protection to all vulnerable groups.
The European union commends the work of the United Nations regarding the humanitarian situation in Iraq. The European Union expresses concern about the displaced Iraqis inside Iraq and Iraqi refugees in neighbouring countries, in particular in Jordan and Syria. We recall the obligation of the Government of Iraq and the international community to protect and assist displaced Iraqis inside Iraq and in neighbouring countries by addressing their immediate and foreseeable needs and ensure their safety. We encourage the Iraqi Government to use its resources to help neighbouring countries to cope with the additional burden of refugees.
Lastly and notwithstanding of the decisions concerning the mandate of the multinational force , the European Union underscores the importance it attaches to maintaining an adequate security level that enables the effective functioning of the United Nations in Iraq, as requested by the Secretary-General.
- Accordingly, the European Union notes with satisfaction that a number of neighbours and partners in the region have honoured the commitments undertaken in the final communiqué of the April 2008 Conference of Iraq’s Neighbouring Countries in Kuwait, and have increased their representation in Baghdad. Constructive engagement of Iraq’s neighbours and partners in the region remains essential for peace and stability, and all neighbours and partners are encouraged to follow suit. The European Union continues to support the process that Iraq’s neighbours initiated and is ready to participate in an expanded forthcoming ministerial conference.
- The European Union wishes to actively participate in efforts to further stabilize Iraq. In particular, I would also like to emphasize the importance of our renewed commitment on the rule of law via Community assistance, the ESDP mission and Member States’ own programmes. In this respect, at the General Affairs Council meeting held this past 10 November, European Union Member States agreed to extend the mandate of the Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq (EUJUST LEX) with effect from June 2009. This will enable the mission to conduct progressive and experimental pilot activities, where security conditions permit, in the area of the rule of law on Iraqi territory.
The European Union also welcomes the major progress made in negotiations relating to the Cooperation Trade Agreement and expresses its determination to conclude these negotiations as quickly as possible. This outcome will help to establish the first contractual relations between the EU and Iraq and enter into a structured and regular political dialogue that is both technical and political.
Finally, the EU remains committed to developing its partnership with Iraq in compliance with the principles of the International Compact with Iraq. It welcomes the meeting held last May in Stockholm for the first International Compact with Iraq Annual Review Conference. The EU encourages the progress made in its implementation and invites all parties to honour the commitments made on that occasion.
Thank you. /.