20 July 2007

Statement by H. E. Mr. Mehdi Danesh Yazdi
Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
of the Islamic Republic of Iran

The meeting on the International Compact with Iraq

New York, 20 July 2007

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

 Mr. Chairman,

I wish to begin by extending our appreciation to the Deputy Secretary General and to you for having convened, in cooperation with the Government of Iraq, this important meeting on the latest developments in the implementation of the International Compact with Iraq and the presentation of its 2007 Mid-Year Progress Report. I also thank the distinguished Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, H.E Mr. Barham Salih, and the Governor of Iraq’s Central Bank H.E Mr. Sinan Al-Shibibi for their informative statements. We were delighted to listen to the statement by H.E Mr. Barham Salih who, together with Mr. Ashraf Ghazi, have joined us through the video-conference.

Mr. Chairman,

For many years, the people of Iraq have been facing daunting and difficult challenges in pursuit of their aspirations and determination for a better future.  In the past several years, they have shown their resolve and vision to build a secure, unified, federal and democratic nation, founded on the principles of freedom and equality, and providing peace and prosperity for their country.

As the 2007 Mid-Year Progress Report on the International Compact with Iraq indicates, and as it has been stressed today by various speakers, serious efforts have been undertaken and concrete steps have been taken by Prime Minister Al-Maliki and his Government to promote national reconciliation, to improve the security situation and to pave the way for the country’s economic and social development. We share the view that the report at hand attests to the commitment of the Government of Iraq to the Compact and illustrates an impressive record of achievements over the past several months.

As rightly indicated in the report itself, these achievements are all the more remarkable given the context of relentless violence, terrorist attacks and other significant challenges that the Government and people of Iraq have been facing. Continued progress towards establishing robust security forces, establishment of institutions related to the National Reconciliation Program, fighting corruption, taking several important legislative measures and undertaking concrete steps in the direction of country’s reconstruction are some of these very important accomplishments.

Despite all these efforts and successes, many challenges still lie ahead. Terrorists, insurgents and also those who use violence and terrorism as a bargaining leverage have redoubled their crimes to render the endeavors of the Iraqi people and Government ineffective and to shatter the lives and aspirations of the Iraqi people apart. The continued terrorist acts and sectarian violence in Iraq, not only is a matter of grave concern for the Government and people of Iraq, but also for the countries in the region and indeed for the whole international community. Iraq’s unity, restoration of its stability and its advancement towards development and prosperity require that all Iraqi political, religious and ethnic forces join in hand to promote constructive engagement and cooperation in all walks of their society. Accomplishing this immense mission also requires positive and genuine regional contribution, since the best interest of the region lies in a democratic and prosperous Iraq at peace with itself and with its neighbors.

Atrocious terrorist acts against defenseless civilians, deliberate targeting of religious sites and gatherings, abduction and killing of foreign diplomats and nationals and the spillover of insecurity into Iraq’s neighboring countries as a result of the actions taken by terrorist groups and elements that have found safe haven in Iraq, are some of the major challenges that mark the situation in Iraq today. We continue to be of the view that a clear timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq will dry up the fertile grounds for violence and insurgency and is thus imperative as it will contribute to the efforts of the Iraqi people and Government to surmount the insecurity and violence ravaging their country.

We concur with the view that while a lot has been achieved, much remains to be done to bring Iraq closer to the vision of the Compact. Undoubtedly, full implementation of the Compact is a long journey that requires the continued determination and strive on the part of the Government and people of Iraq, and a more sustainable and meaningful support from the international community. The international community, with the United Nations at its forefront, should augment its efforts to help the people of Iraq at this very demanding time and in this enormously difficult journey.

Mr. Chairman,

Our support to the Iraqi political process and our efforts to assist Iraqis in their quest for peace, national harmony and reconstruction, including through the implementation of the Compact, has been unabated and will remain unreserved. We have taken various concrete steps to help the Iraqi Government to implement the International Compact, as partly indicated in the report. The two countries have established a joint cooperation commission headed by Iraq’s Prime Minister and Iran’s First Vice-President. We have already implemented many short term programs and several long term projects aimed at promoting economic cooperation between the two countries in the areas of development, energy, education, health, industry, transportation, investment, trade, tourism and financing. Several other important projects are being discussed between the two countries. Moreover, important projects on electrical power lines, as well as emergency provision of basic necessities such as heating oil, gas, electricity, medical items and the like are among those which are either completed or close to completion.

Connecting the rail ways of the two countries, resuming passenger flights, building oil pipe lines, and setting up further electricity transmission lines from Iran to Iraq are among major projects for cooperation that are being followed up by the two sides. Iran has also offered grants to Iraq’s reconstruction, and a line of one billion dollars credit has been allocated to cover the implementation of projects on infrastructure, transportation, electricity and the like. Moreover, we have displayed our seriousness and sincere commitment to help Iraq through actively attending regional and international meetings on Iraq and have tried our best in making them a success. We attended the Sharm-El Sheikh meetings including the one on the International Compact and pledged more assistance to the reconstruction of the country.

Mr. Chairman,

As you are well aware, on 11 January 2007 American military forces in violation of the most basic provisions governing diplomatic and consulate affairs and in a flagrant contempt for the most fundamental principles of international law, attacked the Iranian Consulate General in Erbil and abducted 5 Iranian consular officers. Regrettably, despite the repeated calls made by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and by the Iraqi officials for the release of these consular officers, the United States has failed to secure their release. It is imperative to have the abducted officers released and the confiscated documents and properties returned by the United States.

Before concluding, Mr. Chairman, I wish to assure our Iraqi brothers that as they continue on their relentless strive towards a better future in a new Iraq, they will always find us besides them offering our sincere and unabated cooperation and support.

Thank you.

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