Thank you for attending
and thanks to Sheik Salar, Ekopolitik and others who made it possible.
That includes Dilshad Barzani, the KRG Representative to Germany,
who ordered the greatly appreciated reference
letter of April 15, 2011, which facilitated the some 40 preparatory
meetings with the following encouraging words:
"Mr.Anton Keller, Swiss citizen, ... is visiting the Kurdistan Region on behalf of the 'Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers'.
His visit is welcome in the Kurdistan Region. ... I would highly appreciate any assistance given to him when traveling to, and in the Region, and in any instances where he would require assistance."
On May 15, in a summary
email to all discussion partners, and in response to the general
acceptance of the proposal to hold a dialogue meeting at the end
of May - which several KRG representatives had explicitly and repeatedly
welcomed and promised to support -, I stated inter alia:
"Between April 15-25, I was privileged to meet again old friends and acquaintances in Arbil, Dokan, Sulaimanyia, and Kirkuk. They included governing and opposition party leaders and members of the organising committee of the protest movement. Sheik Salar Al Hafeed, my colleagues from the Turkish think tank Ekopolitik (www.solami.com/rebirth.htm) and I were thus able to present our background and plans for one or more possible follow-up meetings aimed at regionally stabilizing steps and mutually helpful road-holding measures based on existing national and international minority and private property protection guarantees and obligations. And we learned from you first-hand
- how government representatives and opposition politicians and demonstration leaders analyse the evolving political situation,
- which key demands have been formulated, upheld and responded to, and which are yet to be received,
- what is now expected from the current power holders and what are they prepared to discuss,
- how things may play out in which time frame, and
- what you expect from us in our capacity as desinterested neutral outsiders and NGOs."
I also noted: "We've continued to reflect on the highly appreciated different inputs from your side - and have actually incorporated most of the material we became aware of in our bibliography (www.solami.com/iraqsecurity.htm) and, notably in our ... draft declaration for resolving in particular the burning Kirkuk issue [e.g.] by way of the proposed Mosul Vilayet Senate (.../senate.doc)."
And, of course, I expressed my concern for "the fate notably of these [eventually] still arrested leaders of and participants in the protest movement" whom we have met and whom we have understood to be an indispensable part of the evolving political solution.
Yet, KRG's letter to the co-organising Turkish institute Ekopolitik of May 16, formally stated: "The KRG would like to inform you that due to previously scheduled commitments, we cannot accept your invitation to take part in this event [of May 28/29 in Erbil]. We suggest contacting local civil society organizations to assist you in further organizing this event." My repeated requests for clarifications have yet to draw the courtesy of a reply - perhaps reflecting unfounded fears of loss of power to positively influence the future course of events. But it added to an atmosphere which has been less than reassuring. Indeed, reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, CSI, and other civil society organisations continue to cause concern. The shocking violent death notably of Salah Jmor, Rezhwan Ali Ahmed, Sherzad Taha Abdulrahman, Surkew Zahir Mahmud, Garmian Ahmed Fars, Omed Jalal Karim, Bilal Ahmed Aabdullah, Rashid Muhamad Murad, Hardi Faruq Othman, Ali Rasul (peshmerga), and Sarkar Hama Saeed (policeman) have yet to be elucidated. As is the case with the inadmissable kidnapping notably of Sarwar Al Hafeed. And while dialogue meetings may help overcome some barriers, we still miss the precondition for fruitful discussions, i.e. the minimum genuine respect for each other which I called for in my statement at the Halabja commemoration recently held at the UN in Geneva (.../youth.htm). To be sure - appreciatively - a confidant of us reported on May 21: "I could not find any people who are still in the prisons ..." Yet, he added anxiously: "... but there are still some people under threat, even death threat, specifically journalists."
In light of this mixed
bag, I wish all of you well but, regrettably am unable to participate in
such meetings. That is:
1. until the responsible Iraqi authorities will no longer be impeded - e.g. by "previously scheduled commitments" - to participate in the shaping of Iraq's future, and instead will act more fully in line with their pledges and obligations;
2. until the death or disappearance of demonstrators, journalists etc. will be elucidated & all prisoners accounted for;
3. until communications with Mosul Vilayet residents in particular will no longer be censured, hacked or impeded;
4. until, e.g., Transparency International will be given credible opportunities to investigate corruption charges; and
5. until the research results and recommendations concerning the Mosul Vilayet - made, a.o., by the United Nations and its predecessor, as well as by the International Crisis Group, the International Committee for European Security and Co-operation and the Good Offices Group of European Lawmakers in particular - will no longer, like anno 1992, be attempted to be misappropriated by anyone for partisan ends on the back of Iraq's other constitutive communities.
Indeed, there are opportunities now for bona fide efforts to identify, develop and eventually implement practical and road-holding solutions which will be equitably and genuinely beneficial and acceptable to all constitutive communities of the Mosul Vilayet in particular. Accordingly, I shall recommend to the powers that be, as well as to interested lawmakers in Iraq and abroad - notably to members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of the European Parliament and of the Swiss and other national parliaments - to encourage and lend their support to both the KRG and the opposition forces. Notably in as much as they wish and genuinely pursue the realisation of Iraq's national and international minority and private property protection guarantees and obligations - peacefully, in good faith, and with reliable assurances particularly with regard to all meeting participants' safety, welfare, and due respect for them.
Keller, Secretary, Good
Offices Group of European Lawmakers
+4122-7400362 +4179-6047707 firstname.lastname@example.org (url: www.solami.com/erbil.htm)