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S&Ds take the lead in the EP on reaching out to Iraq


Global Europe
The S&D Group conducted the first official parliamentary delegation from the EP to Iraq since previous legislatures. During a two-day mission, the S&D members visited Fallujah, which was recently liberated from the rule of the terrorist organisation Daesh, and they met with local authorities and representatives from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) responsible for demining and rebuilding of the area. In Bagdad, the S&D delegation met with the leading members of Iraqi political parties and discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections on May 12 and prospects for Iraq-EU cooperation.
The delegation took place from 13-16 April and included two S&D MEPs: Josef Weidenholzer (AT) and Javi López, (ES).
S&D vice-president and the chair of the delegation, Josef Weidenholzer, said:
“Iraq’s stability is in the strategic interest of the EU, given the geographical proximity and intertwined security challenges. Now, after the military defeat of Daesh, it is more important than ever to support Iraq’s political class in their efforts to build a resilient and stable Iraqi state that would prevent a re-emergence of Daesh-type security threats.
“It is particularly important to ensure that the religious and ethnic diversity, including the rights of different components of the Iraqi society, are scrupulously respected.
“Since there were no official EP missions to Iraq over the past legislatures, the S&D Group decided to step in and assume a leadership role in the EP in fostering the parliamentary dialogue with Iraq.”
S&D MEP Javi López added:    
“Iraq faces crucial parliamentary elections on May 12. The country boasts of a lively political scene and media freedom not seen in most neighbouring countries. We attach great importance to these elections being conducted in a free and fair manner. It is vital that their results lead to democratic consolidation, inclusivity, fair representation of all groups and overcoming sectarianism. We hope that Iraq could and should start to be a factor of stability and a space of cross community dialogue in a convulsed region.”


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