Monday, April 23, 2007

the status of Kirkuk

Council Conclusions on IRAQ
2795th GENERAL AFFAIRS Council meeting
Luxembourg, 23 April 2007
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"1. The Council reaffirms its support to a secure, stable, democratic, prosperous, and unified Iraq and reiterates its commitment to the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq. It reiterates its support for the democratically elected Government of Iraq and for its efforts to restore public order, promote national reconciliation and rule of law, further economic reconstruction and engage Iraq's neighbouring states and the International Community.
2. The Council condemns in the strongest terms all forms of violence against the Iraqi population, including acts of terrorism, politically motivated or sectarian attacks, and forced displacement. It expresses its deep concern about the humanitarian and human rights situation in parts of Iraq, in particular the situation of internally displaced persons and of Iraqi refugees abroad and urges the government of Iraq to meet its responsibilities towards them. It notes the continued efforts of the multinational force to participate in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in accordance with the mandate renewed by UNSCR 1723.
3. The Council encourages the Government of Iraq to intensify its efforts towards national reconciliation. It hopes that substantial progress will be made on the review of debaathification and on the disbandment of militias, as well as against terrorism, and that appropriate measures will be taken to promote full inclusiveness. It urges all political and social groups in Iraq to pursue their demands through peaceful means and within Iraq's democratic institutions. The Council believes that fundamental decisions such as on the constitutional review, the federalism law and the status of Kirkuk, must be taken in a spirit of sincere dialogue and consensus-building if they are to serve as the basis for a peaceful and prosperous future for Iraq.
4. The Council welcomes the initiative to convene a conference of Iraq's neighbouring states with international participation in Sharm El Sheikh on 4 May, 2007. The international community, and in particular the States in the region, have a responsibility to support and promote the difficult process of national reconciliation and stabilization in Iraq, and to prevent outside interference that could undermine this process. The Council expresses its hope that the planned conference give rise to a long-term process of regional confidence building through dialogue and co-operation. The EU stands ready to actively contribute to this endeavour.
5. The Council reiterates its support for the International Compact with Iraq (ICI) and warmly welcomes the launching of the Compact at a ministerial conference in Sharm El Sheikh on 3 May, 2007. It appreciates the ambitious benchmarks set by the Government of Iraq for its economic, political, security and social reform strategies and encourages Iraq to pursue these targets with all determination. Progress towards those targets will help to further enhance the EU's engagement with Iraq. The Council reaffirms its strong support for a central role of the UN in Iraq, especially in the political, human rights and humanitarian sectors, and in facilitating international support to Iraq.
6. The Council warmly welcomes the opening of negotiations for a Trade and Cooperation Agreement with Iraq and hopes for a timely continuation of these negotiations.
7. The EU will continue to work with the Government of Iraq to better align its assistance with the priorities laid down in the ICI. The Council welcomes the decisions by the Donor Committee of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) at its meeting in Istanbul on 21 March, 2007 to assign the co-chairmanship to Iraq and Italy so as to better reflect Iraqi ownership and enhance donor visibility and to review IRFFI's terms of reference in order to align them with Iraqi priorities. This review should enable IRFFI to act as an important channel for international financial support for Iraq within the framework of the ICI.