Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-09-03-Speech-3-131"
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chair; Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy (2002-01-22--2004-07-19)3
"Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my agreement with the statements by Commissioner Patten and the President-in-Office of the Council, to the effect that we now need to make a joint effort to bring peace to Iraq and thereby stabilise the region as a whole. Not only many European governments, but also Members of this House, have had differences of opinion on the war in Iraq. The situation being what it is, these should now be set aside; we will make no progress by looking for culprits, and our concern must now rather be the development of a common strategy that will help us to resolve today’s problem in a sensible way. We must also see that what the increasing number of terrorist acts in Iraq demonstrates is that the end of the war has brought Iraq no real peace, and that the establishment of a legitimate and acceptable government there is still a long way off. For a variety of reasons – about which there is discussion everywhere – the USA cannot achieve this objective using the means it has employed so far. I believe that President Bush is right to call for a UN resolution on this subject now. It is at this point that I would like to introduce a figure into the proceedings. The USA reckons its monthly commitments in Iraq to be USD 4 billion, which amounts to almost USD 50 billion per annum, a fantastic sum when set against its budget deficit, which is in any case enormous. That alone can scarcely fail to make it clear the need for cooperation in this area. If Europeans can now speak with one voice, then the time is also ripe for us to sit down together and try to work out a new policy objective. This will make it possible to clarify where we go from here, to decide who does what in the civil, military and humanitarian spheres, and thus to divide up tasks in a sensible way. If Europe and the Americans can do this together on an equal footing and work together with the UN in doing so, then I am sure that Parliament would be prepared to accept the Commission’s budgetary proposals and forward them, together with its mandate, to the Donors’ Conference. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the staff of ECHO in Iraq for the fine work they have done, which, I believe, gives us a real opportunity to contribute to peace in the region. There is no doubt that this is in our own interests, as there will be disastrous consequences in store for us too, in both the medium and long term, if it proves impossible to pacify the region as a whole. Considerations such as these should also, however, apply to Afghanistan, and I believe that we should therefore attempt, by means of a new Petersberg conference, to bring about a truly fair balance of power and the equitable distribution of aid, including to the Pathans, in order to establish peace there as well. I get the impression that in neither Iraq nor Afghanistan has such a strategy been in place before now. So now is the time for us to take a deep breath and make a new start together, doing our best in the region’s interests and in our own."@en1
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