|Prime Minister Geir Haarde – Massacre Avoided So Far, But So Much More Needs to be Done|
|Sunday, 22 January 2012 19:23|
In the international conference held in Paris on Friday, January 20, 2012 in defense of Ashraf, Prime Minister Geir Haarde, Former Prime Minister of Iceland made the following remarks:
Dear Madame Rajavi, ladies and gentlemen and friends, I think we probably reached the point at this conference where all the important points have already been made. There may not be much new to add. But let me say that for somebody like myself who is relatively new to the problems of Ashraf and the related difficulties that have been discussed here today, listening to these speeches here has been absolutely eye-opening. These have been very informative and revealing speeches. And I have learned a lot by simply listening here today. But let me also say that it’s good to see so many of you again who were at the big Paris conference in June last year and that we are now able to note that there has been some progress made, there have been some successes since that time with respect to Ashraf. These achievements have been based, I think, on the tireless, the courageous and yet flexible work and efforts of Madame Rajavi and her people in the pro-democracy movement, but also on an international campaign which has included parliamentarians from many countries. [applause]
Of course the extension of the deadline for closing of the camp was enormously important. Another massacre has been avoided, at least so far. But as the other speakers have pointed out repeatedly, so much more remains to be done, and there are still problems that would have been out of the way if everyone had abided by the agreements and the MOUs reached. Unfortunately this is not the case. Now the countries and international organizations that have the main responsibility to avoid a humanitarian disaster, they are listed up here, the U.S., the EU, the UN, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, but in particular, the United States all of these need to continue their work towards assuring a free and safe passage of all Ashraf residents to third countries. And of course the Iraqi government must be pressured to respect international rules for humanitarian conduct, as well as the agreements it has itself signed with respect to transfer of Ashraf residents to Camp Liberty on a temporary basis and outside of Iraq on a permanent basis. Prime Minister Al-Maliki and his government must honor their obligations in this regard and to turn the new camp, as has been described here today, in effect into a prison, with overcrowded and insufficient facilities and living quarters is simply not acceptable. Camp Liberty would not be Camp Liberty. It would be Camp Prison. It’s a terrible misnomer to call such a place Camp Liberty.
And at the risk of sounding repetitive with respect to the other speakers, I will say what many people have already said once again. The U.S. must remove the MEK from its list of terrorist organizations. It’s an insult. [applause] It’s an insult to people’s intelligence that this has not been done already and it’s good to hear how our American friends on this panel today regard this problem and how determined they are to get it solved. Just to get to work and get it done. Whisper into Hillary Clinton’s ear or whatever it takes. Given the history of U.S. involvement in Iraq since 2003, and in particular given the individual contracts that were made with the residents, the U.S. responsibility in this matter is enormous. And I think the speech made by General Phillips here was a tremendously courageous statement form a man who was on the ground, from a man who knows exactly what was going on, and from a man who perhaps is a little ashamed of what has happened on the part of his own government since he was on the ground. I appreciate that statement and also what his daughter said here.
Dear friends, let’s not forget when it comes to Iran itself that the people who live there want the regime change. They want a peaceful transfer of power away from the religious dictator ship that now rules the country towards a pluralistic, truly democratic, secular and open society, a non-nuclear Iran. And in the longer term perspective of the great historical perspective of the great Persian people, the current mullah regime will surely and hopefully be seen as a temporary phenomenon to be swept away by the forces of history. The National Council of Resistance of Iran, Madame Rajavi and her people have prepared a blueprint for such a new era based on the rule of law with unimpeded freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and religion and other such basic rights that are sought and cherished by supporters of democracy all over the world and which include the rights of women in all walks of life. All of us must strongly support all relevant moves in this direction and push for the regime change that is so necessary. Thank you. [applause]
[end of audio]
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