Statement by His Excellency Abdullah Gül, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, at the Meeting on the International Compact with Iraq

Abdullah Gül 18.09.2006
Dear Colleagues,

I congratulate the Government of Iraq and the Conference participants for gathering around for the goal of setting the framework for the International Compact with Iraq.

We all know that our neighbor Iraq is passing through a very difficult period.

The progress in reconstructing a secure, economically viable and democratic state in Iraq has been difficult. The security situation is not improving and the sectarian violence is alarming. To overcome the challenges Iraq faces today requires a resolute and determined effort by the Government of Iraq, backed by the neighbors and the international community.

We are confident that Iraq will come out of this difficult period as a united, democratic and more powerful country, at peace with itself and with its neighbors. We will continue to support the political process to achieve these goals in Iraq as soon as possible.

Turkey recognizes the ongoing need for international assistance to guarantee the conditions for the successful reconstruction of Iraq. We have been offering cooperation and partnership in containing challenges and stabilizing the situation in Iraq.

In this regard, Turkey sustains constructive dialogue with a broad range of Iraqi political leaders and groups, advising them restraint and reconciliation.

We have welcomed and continue to support the UN's role in Iraq for an early restoration of peace and stability. We have hosted one of the UNAMI conferences for rebuilding Iraq's governance, in Istanbul.

While pledging our support, we also underline the need for closer cooperation of Iraqi authorities in combating terrorism and express our concern on the continued presence of terrorist groups in Iraqi territory. It should be well understood by Iraqis and the international community that the terrorism threat is not an isolated issue but a global one.

One cannot win a battle here, while ignoring another there. We are pleased to hear the determination of the Iraqi Government in this regard. We are ready to assist Iraq specifically on this matter should it choose to act decisively.

Turkey offered training assistance to the Iraqi armed forces within the framework of NATO's Training Mission in Iraq. We offered to provide extensive training to Iraqi security forces, both defense and police.

We have pledged $50 million as reconstruction assistance to Iraq. We are utilizing this sum for some development projects in the health and agricultural sectors as well as for appropriate programs including courses for Iraqi diplomats and delegations from political parties and the media.

Moreover, Turkey is the main supplier of imported electric power to Iraq. Unfortunately, the implementation of most of the projects in Iraq has been subject to the limitations caused by the security situation.

The international community, neighbors, all of us, should help Iraqis right now in showing every effort to restore peace and to bring stability and prosperity.

With respect to the Iraq Compact initiative, we believe that it is a timely and necessary undertaking. The Compact should deal with major challenges like: good governance, public resource management, institutional restructuring, economic reforms, investment environment, energy sector including oil and gas, budgetary reform and the like.

I want to reiterate our willingness to take part in the drafting process of the Compact document. We have vast experience in planned economic and social development programs. Our practice in converting from planned economy to liberal market economy is also extensive.

Thus, we offer our contribution to the preparation of the Document as well as any other follow-up materials.

Thank you.