05/29/2008, 00.00
Send to a friend

Iraq seeks to cancel its debt to Arab nations

The Iraq Annual Review Conference opens today in Stockholm to evacuate the results of the country’s five year development plan. 100 nations are present including Iran. The initiative is not without criticism: without the presence of representatives from civil society and peacekeeping experts it will only be a media event.

Stockholm (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Iraqi government will ask Arab nations for greater support today, urging relief of the country’s debts in the yearly gathering of the International Compact with Iraq, to review the middle eastern country’s five year development plan, according to premier Nouri al-Maliki. The meeting, organised by the United Nations, is taking place in Upplands Vasby, 25 Km from Stockholm.  Over 100 nations are attending including Iran.  UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice will also be present.

First launched in Sharm el-Shaikh on May 3 2007, International Compact with Iraq has been defined "an Iraqi government initiative for a new partnership with the international community”.  Jointly presided by Iraq and the United Nations- with the support of the World Bank – it officially aims to “help Iraqi priorities, as set out and promoted by the Iraqi people”.

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, will emphasise the improved security across the country, despite the bloody escalation of recent months.  Based on this he will ask for embassy to be re-opened and outstanding debts cancelled.  The majority of the Iraqi debt was contracted under Saddam Hussein’s regime with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

On the other hand it is expected that the international community press Baghdad to bring reconciliation between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, while pushing ahead with its campaign against Sunni and Shiite extremism. However yesterday, the majority Sunni block – the Sunni Accordance Front – suspended negotiations to re-join the government, accusing a lack of transparency in the assignment of ministerial posts to its members.  Also on the agenda the problem of Iraqi refugees, who are the biggest community in Sweden: since 2003 over 40 thousand refugees have been welcomed by Stockholm.                                                                                                                

Protests against the prolonged US presence in Iraq are also expected today in the Swedish capital. Critics of the Iraq Annual Review Conference warn that the gathering risks reducing itself to a mere media event: its duration of just one day, is too limited, coupled with the fact that only government representatives have been invited to attend the talks, while specialists in peacemaking and peace building and representatives of civil society, both Iraqi and from International NGO’s who are working on the ground, have been left out.




Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Nearly one billion dollars for Lebanon; now for the Palestinians
Taslima Nasreen finds refuge in Sweden
NGO cries foul as Paris Club set to penalise tsunami-stricken countries
The tragedy of Iraqis in Europe, from refugees to deportees
UN must extend East Timor stay: Annan


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”