Statement by EU Council of Ministers on the convening of a regional conference on Iraq in Turkey

Statement by President of the EU Council of Ministers George Papandreou on the convening of a regional conference on Iraq in Turkey
"The convening of a regional conference with the participation of the countries bordering Iraq, following a relevant initiative undertaken by Turkey, comes in a particularly critical period for developments in the wider region of the Middle East.

We understand the concerns and considerations of the countries of the region with regard to the consequences which a war would have on regional stability and security, but also their economic development. Their role is therefore an important one and their contribution to strengthening the international effort to exert the necessary pressure on the Iraqi regime in order for it to implement the UN Security Council resolutions may prove to be effective.

It is our common objective to make full use of all possible diplomatic and political means to secure the implementation of the UN resolutions, so that a peaceful solution can be found and military conflict averted.

The European Union and the Member States support all efforts aimed at finding a way out of the impasse, particularly when they come from countries of the region, and share with them joint responsibilities for the peaceful settlement of disputes, within the framework of UN resolutions.

The time at our disposal is indeed precious and we must coordinate our initiatives in order to increase our effectiveness.

As President of the EU Council of Ministers, I am in constant communication with Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis, as well as with my counterparts of the countries of the region, with the aim of assessing the situation and coordinating our moves. We await the results of the regional conference with great interest, particularly in light of the General Affairs and External Relations Council on Monday in Brussels, at which we shall be discussing developments in Iraq and the shaping of a common EU position".