EU sign 1st Joint Political Declaration with Iraq
EU to sign first Joint Political Declaration with Iraq
The EU and Iraq will sign a joint political declaration on 21 September in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. This will be a significant milestone in the development of EU-Iraq relations and will set the framework for a comprehensive dialogue covering a wide range of political issues. The Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, hailed the new declaration, saying: “The signing of this declaration will be a major step towards closer partnership between Europe and Iraq. It will pave the way for a Co-operation Agreement between us to cover a wide range of trade and development issues”. She added: ”In discussions with Foreign Minister Zebari here in New York, I have made clear that the European Commission remains deeply committed to supporting Iraq’s political and economic reconstruction, and I have confirmed that preparations are under way for the opening of a Commission Delegation office in Baghdad”.
The Political Declaration, to be signed tomorrow, contains the following elements:
• a statement that Iraq and EU share the same goal of a secure, stable, unified, prosperous and democratic Iraq, where human rights are protected;
• a joint commitment to hold a political dialogue in areas of mutual interest at ministerial and senior official level;
• an agreement that the new political dialogue will cover EU support to the political transition process; promotion of good governance; protection of human rights; rule of law and democracy; non-proliferation and counter-terrorism; conflict prevention and resolution; as well as cultural issues.
To date the European Commission has provided €518 million of assistance to Iraq, including support for the rehabilitation of the provision of basic services to respond to the most urgent needs of the ordinary Iraqi people. As part of this assistance package, the Commission is also supporting the preparation of the constitutional referendum and is mobilising €30 million for the preparation of the December elections. Once a new, constitutionally elected, Iraqi government is in place the Commission looks forward to launching negotiations for a contractual agreement with Iraq.
For more information:
The EU's relations with Iraq: http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/iraq/intro/index.htm