Tag Archives: Iraq

IRAQ: EU deploys Observation Mission

Brussels 13.09.2021 In response to an invitation by the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) in Iraq, the European Union has decided to deploy an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the legislative elections scheduled in Iraq for 10 October.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, has appointed Mrs. Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer of this EU Electoral Observation Mission.

The mission will produce a public report with recommendations, based on an objective assessment of the campaign and the voting, with a view to help in further improving the electoral framework in Iraq.

“I am glad that responding to Iraq’s request, the European Union will deploy its first ever Election Observation Mission to the country. I just visited Iraq and discussed the importance of these polls. We want to support the strengthening of Iraqi democracy through Iraqi-led and Iraqi-owned inclusive and participatory elections. Our observation mission is a clear manifestation of solidarity and support to the Iraqi people and of our solid partnership with Iraq” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said.

The Chief Observer Mrs. Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel said: “I am proud to have been appointed Chief Observer of the EU EOM for the Iraqi elections in October. These polls will be an important milestone in Iraq’s democratic build-up. A peaceful and secure run up of the electoral process is key to ensure that all candidates, political activists, journalists, human rights defenders and the electorate can fully exercise their democratic rights and freedoms. This will be key for the success of these important elections.”

The core team of the EU EOM consists of 12 election experts who arrived to Baghdad and Erbil on 28 August. In mid-September, 20 long-term observers will join the mission and will be deployed in different areas of the country. During election day, the mission will be reinforced with local short-term observers coming from EU Member States’ diplomatic missions present in Iraq. The EU EOM will remain in the country until the completion of the electoral process, including counting and appeals.

In line with the EU’s election observation methodology, the mission will issue a preliminary statement and hold a press conference in Baghdad after the elections. The final report, which will include a set of recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented and shared with stakeholders after the finalisation of the entire electoral process.

Borrell visits Kurdistan

Brussels 07.09.2021 “…It would be impossible to visit Iraq without paying strong attention to the Kurdistan region” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, during his meeting with the President of the Kurdistan region of Iraq Nechirvan Barzani.

“We have had a very productive discussion about many issues of mutual interest. The President has referred to them and I am most grateful, President, for the great insights that we have had during our discussion.

“We know that the region has witnessed difficult times. Difficult times in the past and many challenges remain. I am here to express, on behalf of the European Union, our solidarity and support. The European Union is and will be still more a friend and a partner.

 

“In these difficult times, the Kurdistan Region plays a crucial role in ensuring stability in Iraq and in the wider region. We, therefore, attach high importance to the relations between the leadership in Erbil and the Federal authorities in Baghdad.

“We understand the difficulties and encourage all efforts to resolve existing differences and ensure good cooperation. And we are ready also to try to help on that.

“In my discussion with the President I had the opportunity to acknowledge and commend the important contribution by the Kurdistan Regional Government in the efforts of the Global Coalition against Da’esh.

“The important contribution of the Kurdistan people in terms of casualties suffered and the courage of your soldiers have been decisive in the fight against Da’esh.

“We, in the European Union, remain firmly committed to this Global Coalition, to continue working with partners, as the job to end Da’esh is unfortunately not finished given the repeated attacks in the recent times.

“In this context, I am pleased to announce that this summer we have expanded our European Union Advisory Mission in Iraq (EUAM) by opening a permanent presence here in Erbil. Our team is ready to provide advice and expertise on civilian security sector reform to the Kurdistan Regional Government, President. Talks have already started in the areas in which our support can be useful for you.

“I also commended the Kurdistan Region of Iraq for the momentous generosity and responsibility you have shown giving refuge to so many persons internally displaced by Da’esh, among them many Christians and Yazidis. The figures, President, are impressive. You were able to receive in six months two million refugees, which represents one third of your population. I do not think there is another example of such a big effort receiving people and helping them. I know how much money and efforts it has cost and I have to praise you and the Kurdistan society for this extreme effort of solidarity. We tried to support you as much as we can. Since 2019, about 240,000 people in Iraq have benefitted from European Union management services in their camps. And we also support projects aiming to improve relationship between Internally Displaced Persons and local communities.

“We also had the opportunity to talk and to exchange on regional issues of mutual interest and concern. This Region is located in a very complicated neighborhood. In that context, and bearing also in mind recent developments – I am thinking of Afghanistan – we discussed the migration file, very important for us and for all Member States of the European Union”.

EU committed to defeat Da’esh

Brussels 28.06.2021 “The EU remains firmly committed to the Global Coalition against Da’esh. The job is not yet finished in Iraq and Syria, where the core of Da’esh is still active, even if gone largely underground. Stabilisation and reconstruction are key to prevent its resurgence. We also see a growing influence of Da’esh in areas already made vulnerable by conflict, including West Africa and Mozambique. The pandemic and its impact on local economies are also creating new opportunities for Da’esh to exploit” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said, while addressing in Rome the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition against Da’esh.

“This is why our collective action remains crucial to ensure sustainable progress” the diplomat continued.

“In Iraq, the EU has invested over €1.3 billion since 2014 in development, humanitarian and security assistance. Since 2017, we support civilian Security Sector Reform through an EU Advisory Mission (EUAM Iraq), with a team of up to 80 international staff. The mission works very closely with the Ministry of the Interior and will soon extend its presence also to Erbil.

“When I met with Foreign Minister [of Iraq, Fuad] Hussein last week, I also announced the deployment of an EU Election Observation Mission for the October elections.

“On Syria, we continue to push for a political solution in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We insist on the importance of non-normalisation with Syria in order to maintain pressure on the regime to engage in the UN process. In March, the EU co-chaired the 5th Syria Conference in Brussels to mobilise the international community in support of the Syrian people.

“The EU also supports the stabilisation of the North East with projects to build resilience against radicalisation, prevent violent extremism, and in support of vulnerable children and youth.

[The humanitarian and security conditions in the camps remain difficult. The EU visited the region last week and will launch new stabilisation assistance, including for camps and prisons.]

“Turning to Africa, I warmly welcome the new Coalition members from the African continent who join us for the first time today.

“In Sahel, we have to pay closer attention to the region: in Central Mali we see every day two grave security incidents causing deaths or injuries. This is of concern to all of us. For this reason, the EU is committed to keep up its military and civilian engagement. We have three [Common Security and Defence Policy] CSDP missions in the region, with around 1,000 staff to support host countries in the fight against terrorism. The EU also supports the G5 Sahel Joint Force and stabilisation efforts in support of local populations.

We again welcome a role for the Coalition in the Sahel region. A role that has to be played in close coordination with international efforts in the framework of the Coalition for the Sahel.

Finally, on Mozambique. The humanitarian and security situation in Cabo Delgado is rapidly deteriorating. At the request of the Mozambican government, the EU is finalising the planning for an EU military CSDP mission aimed at providing human-rights compliant training and capacity building to selected units of the Mozambican armed forces.

The EU is further engaged with humanitarian, development and stabilisation assistance adding up to nearly €60 million for projects to build confidence between security forces and local communities.

“Two years after the defeat of Da’esh by Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, it is clear that there is still much work to do. The EU will continue to do its part, together with the Global Coalition and its partners”.

EU condemns Iraq execution of terrorists

Brussels, 19.11.2020 The European Union diplomacy has issued a statement, expressing “sincere sympathy” to convicts, and families of those executed on terrorism charges in Iraq. In a written statement, attributed to a spokesperson, the European diplomacy has risen to defence of human rights of the convicts, condemning in the “strongest possible terms”, the executions, assessing them as criminal acts in themselves.

“Earlier this week, twenty one individuals convicted on terrorism-related charges were reportedly executed in Nasiriyah Central Prison, also known as Al Hoot, in Iraq. The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the criminal actions for which they were sentenced and expresses its sincere sympathy to any victims and their families. At the same time, the European Union recalls its opposition to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances.

“The European Union considers the death penalty a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent to crime. It represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity while any miscarriages of justice are irreversible.

“The European Union therefore calls on Iraqi authorities to refrain from any future executions, to declare and maintain a de facto moratorium on the use of capital punishment, and to pursue a consistent policy towards the abolition of the death penalty in the country”.

According to Amnesty International, China is leading in executions, but the exact number remains unknown as this data is classified as a state secret; the global figure of at least 657 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.
From available data, without China, 86% of all reported executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt.

At the end of last year, 106 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes, and 142 countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

EP: Sakharov Prize shortlist

The democratic opposition in Belarus, Guapinol activists and Berta Cáceres, and the archbishop of Mosul were shortlisted for the 2020 Sakharov Prize on October 12.

Following a joint vote by MEPs in the Foreign Affairs and Development committees on Monday 12 October, the finalists for the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought are:

The democratic opposition in Belarus, represented by the Coordination Council, an initiative of brave women and political and civil society figures;

Guapinol activists and Berta Cáceres in Honduras;

Mgr Najeeb Moussa Michaeel, archbishop of Mosul, Iraq.

The European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (President and political groups’ leaders) will select the final laureate on Thursday 22 October. The prize itself will be awarded in a ceremony in Parliament’s HNemicycle on 16 December.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov and the prize money is 50 000 euros.

Last year, the prize was given to Ilham Tohti, an Uyghur economist fighting for the rights of China’s Uyghur minority.

MEPs condemn Erdogan “blackmail”

Greek officials said that in 24 hours between March 2 and March 3 morning hours, 5,183 people were prevented from entering the country,  45 people were detained they added. (Image: social media).

On March 3 morning, two men — one from Mali and one from Afghanistan — were arrested by Greek agents shortly after crossing the border, and loaded into a van with about 20 more people, from Somalia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Iraq, the Associated Press reported.

The new flow of migrants attempting to illegally enter Europe comes days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his country was easing restrictions on those wishing to cross the border to leave Turkey.

Erdogan said his country, which has more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, is unable to cope with a new wave and demands Europe’s “support”.

“It’s done, the gates are open,” Erdogan said March 2 in a TV announcement. “You will have your share of this burden now, ” adding that Europe could expect “millions” of migrants and refugees from now onward.

We strongly condemn the cynical blackmail by Turkish President Erdogan with the lives of people. The European border to Greece is not open and sending people there is dangerous and irresponsible. What happens at the border is fully Turkey‘s responsibility”  wrote in his Twitter micro blog Manfred Weber, the leader of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) in the European Parliament.

EU focus on counter-terrorism in Iraq

The Minister of foreign affairs discussed the latest developments in Iraq. The diplomats have been assessing the consequences of the recent escalation of tension and major security incidents in Iraq and its impact on the entire the region. They also considered the impact of these developments on the international coalition engaged in the fight against Da’esh.

Ministers have exchanged views on possible ways to de-escalate tensions both in the short and long term.

Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, invited to the Council has assessed the discussion with Foreign Ministers as important.

He expressed the opinion of a profound need to continue to support Iraq, fighting  international terrorism, and stay united in face of the threat.

NATO Stoltenberg participates in EU Council

On Friday, 10 January 2020, the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg will attend the Extraordinary Meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council, NATO announced via the site of the organisation.

They also informed a transcript of the Secretary General’s remarks, will be available on the NATO website following the event.

“Sharing strategic interests and facing the same challenges, NATO and the European Union cooperate on issues of common interest and are working side by side in crisis management, capability development and political consultations, as well as providing support to their common partners in the east and south. The EU is a unique and essential partner for NATO. The two organisations share a majority of members, have common values and face similar threats and challenges.

NATO and the EU currently have 22 member countries in common.

Both NATO and the EU are engaged in combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They have exchanged information on their activities in the field of protection of civilian populations against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.

Iraqi Parliament voted January 5 to obligate Iraq’s government “to work towards ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil,” according to the media office of the Iraqi Parliament.

NATO announced on that it had suspended its training mission, which fields 500 instructors.

The NATO official said other mission personnel were being moved to other parts of Iraq, and emphasised that “NATO maintains a presence”.

The alliance plans to resume its training there “when the situation permits”.

The US was “disappointed” in Iraq’s actions Sunday, a US State Department spokeswoman said.

EU attempts to reanimate JCPoA

The the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell convened an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council on January 10, to discuss with the 28 EU Foreign Ministers the crisis situation in Iraq and Libya, concluding a common EU strategy.

The EU diplomacy underlines its vital interest to promote peace and stability in the Middle East and Maghreb.

However Josep Borrell underlines that the situation in Libya remains a priority for the European Union and that an immediate cessation of hostilities and a sustainable ceasefire on the ground would be crucial for regional and European security.

Ahead of the meeting Charles Michel (pictured), the EU Council president, called Iranian authorities to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPoA) during a phone conversation with President Hassan Rouhani, and afterwards he urged the EU to opt for a more ambitious foreign policy.

Just spoke with Hassan Rouhani about recent developments. JCPOA remains crucial for global security. I called Iran not to pose irreversible acts,” Michel tweeted.

Amid the U.S.-Iran crisis Teheran announced that it was renouncing its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that was designed for non-proliferation of the nuclear weapons.

The Ministers have to clarify their policies vis-a-vis Iraq, where parliament voted for the expulsion of the American military. During his conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi the EU head of diplomacy reaffirmed the European “unwavering support to Iraqi sovereignty and stability in the region”. He also reconfirmed the urgent need for de-escalation and EU’s readiness to support Iraq in fighting Da’esh and engage in regional dialogue.

NATO suspends training in Iraq

NATO Ambassadors met on 6 January 2019 in Brussels headquaters to address current tensions in the Middle East and implications for NATO’s training mission in Iraq.

“…Allies expressed their strong support for the fight against ISIS and for the NATO mission in Iraq. In everything that we do, the safety of our personnel is paramount. As such, we have temporarily suspended our training on the ground,” – Jens Stolenberg said.

Allies called for restraint and de-escalation. A new conflict would be in no one’s interest. So Iran must refrain from further violence and provocation” he added.

Speaking after the meeting of NATO’s North Atlantic Council, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that the safety of NATO’s personnel in Iraq is paramount and that the Alliance had temporarily suspended training activities on the ground. He added that NATO was prepared to continue training and capacity-building when the situation permits, emphasizing that the Alliance remains strongly committed to the fight against international terrorism, namely Daech in Middle East.

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