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Struan Stevenson – Kobler the Problem not the Solution

Brussels, March 27, 2013 - Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for that warm welcome for Mrs. Rajavi. It is very kind of you.

Now, we have 2 hours for this afternoon’s meeting and I have a list of 19 speakers already, and I am sure there will be one or two more from the floor who will wish to join in.

So I have to start with a few words of housekeeping. I will be instructing all the speakers to stick very rigidly to a maximum 5 minutes. Anyone who strays over 5 minutes is, I am afraid, going to have to deal with some of our American military friends who are here.

Could I start by saying that yesterday I chaired a meeting of the Delegation for Relations with Iraq where we were discussing the crisis in camp Liberty. We have a situation where Alejo Vidal Quadras, myself and other senior members of  parliament were persuaded by the UN Special Representative Martin Kobler that we should put pressure on the residents of camp Ashraf to move to camp Liberty, where their safety and  security would be guaranteed, and where their living conditions were ideal for a Temporary Transit Location, which is what they call camp Liberty, that they would be there for only a few short weeks, they would have a revolving door situation where UNHCR would interview them, register each individually as a refugee and they would then be quickly resettled to countries of safety.

 

In a year and a half after people moved into camp Liberty, more individuals have been taken out of camp Liberty in body bags than have been resettled. The safety and security that we guaranteed them, I was a party to this, and I feel partly responsible for this, the UN, the US and the EU guaranteed the safety and security of these 3,100 people, that was horribly breached on the 9th of February when there was a rocket attack, where more than 45 Katyusha rockets fired in a tight trajectory in a professional military manner over a 15 minute period, killed 8 people, dismembered 10, and wounded over 90 in a serious way.

 

So we have deceived these people. They’re living, in the words of a working party from the United Nations, in prison-like conditions....They have no freedom of movement. They have been forced to pay massive amounts of money for their own food and welfare which has to be imported from Kuwait; they’re not being supplied with food, water, fuel, by the government of Iraq who adopted responsibility for their welfare and their security. We have betrayed and deceived these people. And as you will hear from a series of speakers today, we, now, are demanding that these people be given a guarantee of security by immediately either moving them back to the relative safety of camp Ashraf or immediately restoring and rebuilding the 17,500 concrete T-walls that were removed by the Iraqi government before the 3,100 people took residence in camp Liberty.

You have to ask: why were these T-walls removed? They were built by the Americans to provide security from rocket and mortar attacks when the American military were occupying camp Liberty, why were they removed? You have to ask yourself why were the body armors and hard hats which belonged to the people of camp Liberty forced to be left behind in camp Ashraf? Why have they not been given the right to build a concrete bunker in which they can take shelter in the event of another rocket attack? Why have they been refused permission even to be supplied with shovels to dig trenches in which they can hide in the event of another attack? And the only conclusion I can come to, more than a month a month and a half since the vicious attack of 9 February, is that they are being lined up to be annihilated by the Iraqi government and their puppet masters in Tehran.

And yesterday, unbelievably, the spokesman for the EEAS, our foreign affairs service told us that the European Union takes no responsibility for the safety and security of the people in camp Liberty. That responsibility is entirely an issue for the Iraqi government. I was saying to Alejo before this meeting, that is almost like telling King Herod that he will be in charge of the nursery. This is an outrage and is a stain in our credibility as a parliament.

So, I’m not going to say any more. It is a great privilege as always to have with us today Mrs. Maryam Rajavi president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, and I now have great privilege and pleasure to give her the floor. Mrs. Rajavi.

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Second Part

Ladies and gentlemen, I have here a letter from --- addressed to the people of Iraq: “Call for prompt replacement of Martin Kobler with an impartial representative,” and it is from the assemblies of tribes, sheikhs and human rights societies, on behalf of 45 other assemblies as well as over 100,000 citizens of Iraq whose letters and signatures are safely kept with us and we declare our demands, first of all, that Martin Kobler be replaced, and secondly, that the people in Liberty immediately be returned to the relative safety of camp Ashraf. One hundred thousand Iraqis have signed up to this. [applause]

So, ladies and gentlemen, for the memory of these 8 people who died needlessly, and all the dozens of others who have died in the three vicious attacks that have now taken place, their blood is on our hands, our responsibility. We guaranteed the safety of the people when they moved from Ashraf to camp Liberty. I cannot sit here in all conscience and allow any more blood to be spilled in my name and we demand action from Catherine Ashton. It is no good that she says the security and safety of these people is in the hands of the government of Iraq and we demand now that UNAMI whose sole job was to look after the security and safety of these people, they have failed miserably in that job. They should be removed from the scene all together. We don’t need a replacement for UNAMI. Now it’s up to UNHCR to finish the interviewing process, register all of these people as refugees, and get them out to countries of safety.

Mr. Kobler you have become the problem, not the solution. Thank you all for your attendance.

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Iraqi forces attack Camp Ashraf