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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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You are here : Home > News > Speeches > June 2005 > Opening speech by Mr Jean Asselborn, Deputy Prime Minister, Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, President of the Council of the European Union
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Opening speech by Mr Jean Asselborn, Deputy Prime Minister, Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, President of the Council of the European Union

Date of Speech : 22-06-2005

Place : Brussels

Speaker : Jean Asselborn

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : International Conference on Irak

Mr Secretary General of the United Nations,

Mr Prime Minister, Mr President of the National Assembly,


Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome you to Brussels for this International Conference that I have the honour of presiding together with my colleague, the Secretary of State Ms Condoleezza Rice. The presence of so many Ministers from the international community  - and the attendance of His Excellency, the Secretary General, Kofi Annan - is  a testimony to the deep and sincere interest that we have in the well being of the Iraqi people and of our solidarity with this country.  The attendance of numerous States and organisations shows that the international community is committed to supporting the determined continuation of the transition process as defined in Resolution 1546.

I would also like to warmly welcome His Excellency Prime Minister Jaafari, who bears the heavy responsibility of leading his people towards democracy and a constitutional State. I would like to pay tribute to him and to the transitional government for their courageous decisions and for the determination that they have shown on a daily basis.

Having recently visited Baghdad with the EU troika, I saw with my own eyes the scope of the task awaiting them and the responsibilities that they have had to assume.

It is important to me to emphasise here the profound emotion and repulsion inspired in me by the terrorist attacks that are striking so pitilessly the Iraqi population. Those responsible for these terrible acts are not in any way seeking to realise the legitimate rights of the Iraqi people, but are destroying all hope of peace.

Today’s conference offers an important opportunity for Iraq and for the transitional Iraqi government – formed as a result of January’s elections - to confirm the return of Iraq into the great family of the international community. I am particularly pleased to welcome such a large delegation from the Iraqi government and eminent representatives of the different political parties.

The Conference is taking place at a particularly crucial time. Let us face the reality: the challenges are numerous. We are here to show Iraq and the Iraqi people that we are at their side in this difficult transition period, which will lead to their taking full control of their own destiny.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our aim is clear: the political and economic reconstruction of Iraq that will give this ravaged country peace, stability, democracy and prosperity. To succeed, one must pursue on the path of a resolutely political approach. The Iraqis need a visible and credible political horizon to enable them to regain hope and to mobilise in a constructive way in order to ensure the success of the political transition. The current efforts in this area will be the subject of our first work session.

Through the political process, the desire for reconciliation will gain the upper hand over the logic of confrontation, so that all the elements in Iraqi society can make themselves heard in a peaceful way.

In this spirit, promotion of human rights must be at the heart of the reconstruction of the State and of the Nation. In this context, we concur fully with the method advocated by Iraq and the United Nations, based on an inclusive dialogue, both at national and regional levels.

At the national level, only an inclusive process will enable the emergence of a sovereign government representing all the segments of Iraqi society, one that is pluralist and respects the rights and freedoms of all. In pursuing this dialogue and preparing the new constitution, we are also calling for the strengthening of the responsibilities of the universal organisation of the United Nations. The legitimacy that the latter embodies, its impartiality and expertise are all reasons that justify it playing a truly central role.

At the regional level, a process that involves Iraq’s neighbours is a fundamental factor in stabilising the region, in both political and security terms.

As regards economic reconstruction, the growing mobilisation of the international community must also involve setting up transparent and effective financial, commercial and economic mechanisms that characterise a modern economy which is integrated into the global economic networks. We will have the opportunity to look further into these issues during our second work session.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The commitment of the European Union to the Iraqi people is not a new one. During the difficult times, the European Union supported the Iraqi population through its aid programmes, in order to guarantee the most basic needs of the population. Today, the challenges are of a different nature and the EU has decided to focus its support on the electoral process and the constitutional process. The EU would further like to contribute actively to Iraq’s economic recovery.

The Iraqis are entitled to peace and to a future in a stable and prosperous state.  We will work with the Iraqi people for the reconstruction of their country and their institutions. The integrated EU mission on the Rule of Law is a first concrete step in this direction.

Against this background, the European experience of reconciliation and integration can serve as an example. Peace can indeed only be built in the context of respect for identities and the right of peoples.

The European Union welcomes in particular the constitutional process underway and would like to reiterate its support for the efforts undertaken to ensure that this process is brought to a successful conclusion, and namely lead to the organisation of elections at the end of this year. All the Iraqis must have their say in the constitutional process, which involves all of them and engages their future.

 Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The objective of today’s conference is to fully consolidate the process that is under way. The idea is to reaffirm our commitment to the approach defined in Resolution 1546, in full compliance with the transition timetable.

The international community is determined to work towards this objective, shoulder to shoulder with Iraq and the Iraqi people.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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This page was last modified on : 22-06-2005

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