SRSG Ashraf Qazi left Baghdad on 12 March 2007 to attend a meeting at the United Nations Headquarters that brought together the Government of Iraq and the international community together to review the substantive progress made in the development of the International Compact with Iraq (ICI).
Mr. Qazi delivered a speech before the preparatory meeting for the upcoming Conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Neighbouring States of Iraq which took place in Baghdad on 10 March. Few days earlier, he met with Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari; the Spokesperson for the Prime Minister, Dr. Ali Dabbagh; and Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi.
On 8 March, Mr. Qazi met with Dr. Iyad Allawi, head of Iraqiya list to discuss the latest developments on the situation in Iraq. On the same day, he also met with MNF-I Commanding General David Petraeus to discuss the progress of the Baghdad Security Plan.
On 7 March, the SRSG attended a conference on accelerating investment projects in Baghdad, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh.
DSRSG Michael Schulenburg was the UNAMI OIC from 12 to 19 March. During this period, he held separate meetings with the Iraqi Vice-Presidents, Tariq Al-Hashemi and Adel Abdul Mahdi. The DSRSG also met Dr. Rowsh Shaways, an Iraqi parliamentarian and personal representative of Kurdistan Rehional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani, at the Iraqi Nationa' Security Council. The DSRSG consulted National Security Advisor Dr. Mowaffaq Al-Rubai'e on the new Baghdad Security Plan and attended meetings with Mr. Ali Baban, the Minister of Planning, and Abdul-Hussein Al-Hindawi, the ECI Chairman. The DSRSG also attended the Iraqi army Officers Conference for National Reconciliation. Additionally, a number of working meetings were held with Iraqi politicians and members of the Baghdad diplomatic corps. On 1 March, the DSRSG paid on a courtesy visit to Vice-President Adel Abdul Mehdi, who survived an assassination attempt a few days earlier.
On 4 March, SRSG Ashraf Qazi returned to Baghdad after he completed his tour of regional countries which included Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar and Iran.
SRSG Qazi Addresses Recent Meeting on Iraq in Baghdad
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Ashraf Qazi, delivered a speech before a meeting on Iraq, which took place in Baghdad on 10 March 2007. It was attended by representatives of Iraq's neighbouring countries, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Following is the text of Mr. Qazi's speech:
Mr Chairman, your excellencies,
it is an honour and pleasure to address this meeting - and as the last Speaker before lunch, I have been advised by my team to let brevity be the soul of virtue.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr Ban Ki-moon extends his greetings, and wishes you success in your deliberations to contribute to the reduction of violence, the pursuit of national reconciliation and an agreement on peace building processes in Iraq.
The United Nations fully endorses the congratulations extended by the participants to the Government of Iraq, and particularly the efforts of Prime Minister Maliki and Foreign Minister Zebari for convening this meeting in Baghdad. In accordance with the decision at the Foregn Ministers meeting in New York on 18 September last year, the United Nations hopes that it will be possible to hold a subsequent ministerial level meeting in Baghdad.
In my recent tour of regional capitals I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to discuss many of the issues under consideration today with your governments. There can be no doubt that each one of Iraq's neighbours has a critical and indispensable role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Iraq. Your collective wisdom, experience, understanding, and stake in the peace and stability of your own region, including Iraq, should constitute an invaluable asset in developing a concerted strategy to help Iraq overcome the several challenges it faces today which, if not resolved, will negatively impact on the region and beyond. This collective and coordinated role should of course be discharged in full cooperation with the Government of Iraq as the peace building process in Iraq can only be an Iraqi owned and driven process.
In my discussions with senior officials throughout the region I have been struck by the many commonalities in their views on Iraq, especially their commitment to the unity and the territorial integrity of Iraq. All of them, without exception, have a fundamental interest in enabling Iraq to avoid the chaos and tragedy of conflict and division, the consequences of which would inevitably engulf them. Accordingly, I hope that this meeting will provide an opportunity for all Iraq's neighbours to contribute to avoiding such scenarios through support for a process that reduces violence, strengthens dialogue, increases participation, justly distributes revenues, generates job opportunities, and creates conditions for a major improvement in the living conditions and reduction in the trauma of the Iraqi people.
The United Nations regards the establishment of working groups as an excellent initiative that will enable issues to be discussed in a context and level of detail that has so far not been possible. This should increase the emphasis on practical outcomes and the identification of workable solutions. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq is ready to support these working groups in any way that this meeting may deem appropriate. The United Nations will of course continue its support for the Constitutional Review Process and its efforts to increase awareness of and practical assistance for displaced Iraqis both in Iraq and outside.
As a framework for the collective endeavours of the neighbours of Iraq, it would useful to agree on a concept of support to the reform and reconciliation efforts of the government of Iraq, and a set of commitments to assist the international partnership envisaged by the International Compact for Iraq. Such an initiative would do much to build confidence in the commitment of the region as a whole to reduce the levels of mutual threat perceptions and mistrust that have acted as barriers to effective regional cooperation in support of Iraq's democratic transformation.
This will in turn contribute to the creation of an environment in which a more inclusive political process can emerge and take root in Iraq. Indeed, this is the only way to ensure a sustained improvement in the security situation and the establishment of conditions necessary for progress towards a National Vision shared by all the peoples of Iraq, as envisaged by the International Compact of Iraq.