Press conference of Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs held after the meeting of the joint Iraqi - British Committee
In the Name of God. The most Compassionate.. the Most Merciful. I arrived here to meet the State Minister for Middle East and South Africa Affairs , high-level delegation accompanied me from different stakeholders ministries regarding these files, indeed the session convened today and the basic pillars which enlisted in the session is the cooperation subject with Iraq, especially that the events is about to start from close point and to be prevailed with success. The Iraqi party focused on its different speeches of its participants, its really important that we should discuss Al-Mosul case from different aspects. The security aspect and the military aspect; because there are private mattes happening in the field, its formation and complications benefiting from the previous experiences whether it was the experience of Salah Al-din liberation or Al-Anbar or Al-Fallujah. The devoting of all these experiences to start Al-Mosul liberation operation since war against daesh is untraditional one, and there might be bunkers, disappearing and other matters needs to security intelligence information required in this battle. Adding to that, the importance of the other pillars: including: the service pillar… Al-Mosul city is considered as the second largest city in Iraq after Baghdad, and diversified in its sects, religions, politics and nationality; we need to work on the service level ,the required services must be provided such as schools, hospitals, and the other types of services, it’s there lawful right. We do not force anyone of its people to return, but we must provide them with the attraction requirements which convince them to return , Iraq is in need for them to return and we want them to return and we should provide all the lawful means of comfort for them. The government is working hard to provide what is related to the mentioned pillars, and the other pillars including the administrative work pillar… we must answer this big and important question: what is next after Al-Mosul liberation, and how the government utilities is going to be ran especially that we become familiar with daesh via Al-Fallujah experience and other areas that when they leave an area or a city they attempt to make as much damage as they can and devastation. Finally, the political pillar which maintains the balance of Al-Mosul in very natural method. The points of view agreed with the British party, the readiness for participation and assistance providing , we thanked them over the previous assistance whereas Britain sent generous assistance and finally in our last meeting in New York, they donated and USA $100 million Dollars (60 million dollars from Great Britain), and from our party, we expressed our gratitude and we asked them to continue granting such donations. The risky, expensive aspect in this matter is our sons …our beloved sons who gave their lives as victims in order to defend the honor of Al-Mosul and its dignity and sovereignty which it is considered as an integral part of Iraq sovereignty but the need is still for the assistance of the countries and our international friends who can give what they can of aids and assistance. We highly focused on the necessity of maintaining the security atmosphere and the political and media atmospheres and the exerting efforts of all the countries in order to maintain this condition. Question- the tension of relations between Iraq and Turkey, and Al-Mosul liberation operations what if the Turkish troops remained? What is the Iraqi reaction? And how is it going to be look like? Minister Al-Jaafari: the Turkish troops which entered in 114 km inside the depth of Iraqi territories in Ba'sheqa since 14 December, 2015 till present time we are refusing this presence and we take a word from their side to withdraw and they were excusing with different allegations and multi pretensions from time to time. Once they say that we are fighting the PKK (the Patriotic Labor of Kurdistan) and another time they say: we are presenting the assistance for the case of daesh, and the third is to train the Iraqi Security Forces, and the fourth is to coordinate between the central government and the government of Kurdistan and the fifth is that they have previous agreement since the time of the overthrown regime of Saddam Hussein on 1981-1982. all these justifications we replied to it and we said that these justifications is considered false. Iraq speaks up and there is a decision passed by its council of representatives stipulating banning of any foreign troops to enter Iraq and especially if it was without its permission. - Do you have any clarification to the British party that the battle of Al-Mosul is going to be an Iraqi one, and not to regionalize this battle? Is it possible to get benefit of the British situation since its considered as a permanent member in the Security Council to issue a resolution regarding the withdrawal of the Turkish troops? Minister Al-Jaafari: frankly speaking, we already reacted since the early days of the Turkish invasion, I hosted their excellences the Ambassadors of the permanent member states in the security council in Baghdad and I informed them about this violation and their attitude was positive then I telephoned the foreign ministers of these countries but unfortunately later these countries were disagreed and the saying opinion of the necessity of giving more time to exert more diplomatic efforts was prevailed; which forced us to throw our load on to the side of Arab countries, as you know we had the Arabic consensus for the first time in the history of the Arab League to stand with Iraq and condemn the Turkish invasion and demand Turkey for immediate withdrawal; so we are reacting now on international, Arabic and Iraqi level and not on local level only. We are exerting our efforts and concentrate our capacities in order to preserve the Iraqi sovereignty .. we are fighting on behalf of all the world and the world must contribute in assisting Iraq and not to say that to be busy with side issues which keep us busy of the this battle. - As for the Turkish president speech of Rajab Teib Ardoghan, his speech went beyond of the diplomatic norms, and diplomatic eligibility, and transgressed on the sovereignty of Iraq, on the character of the Premiere… is there are any clear steps will be adopted starting from Ambassador withdrawal and initiating an economic boycott or you still in the level of discussion? - Minister Al-Jaafari: we will deal with each new issue with what it deserve , I found it odd of what stated by the President towards the Iraqi Prime Minister, he didn’t come to the government in a tank, and didn’t come through deal, on the contrary, he came to his office through elections which represented by the selection of the national alliance as the biggest parliamentary block, meanwhile, all other political blocs reacted with him, and he has two job titles: the first is the Prime Minister and the second is the General Commander of Armed Forces. We rejected the Turkish violation, and did not reject the relations with Turkey, but Iraq is strong by its inside components and by its relations with other countries and strong by its case, Iraq is not interfering in any country's affairs to become weak to speak and to defend its sovereignty. When the sovereignty violated in the day time all countries expressed its impressions, and its support to Iraq; because the claim is lawful and the violation became very clear, we are still keen to maintain good relations with the whole world and especially with the neighboring countries, and we are expecting the same from these countries and they shouldn’t imagine that Iraq is weak… Iraq is a strong country. You observed till yesterday that daesh was making concerns to the whole world, and some of these countries are representing the major powers but god willing they will be buried in Iraq through the city of Al-Mosul. -the former Turkish prime minister Ahmet Dawood Augholo met with Iraqi prime minister before 2015, is there are any clarification to what is discussed with the Turkish party concerning the military training and the entry of the Turkish troops? Minister Al-Jaafari: in the last meeting between me and Mr. Augholo was in 2016 here in London, and this meeting was attended by Ambassador Dr. Salih, I asked him" when you will go out of Mosul? He said: we will.. and when you come to capture the ground? I said: its our land and our sovereignty and we represent our people and you came in. so get out of our lands, and the he Said: we are ready to get out. I believe this our parameters in the dialogue and we are not and will not allow for our land to be occupied or dominated by any source of sources especially the demographic aspect of our fellow citizens that we must prepare to them their full secured atmosphere. We refuse such violations, yes, we are keen on maintaining the relations on its best level with the whole world and with the geographic neighboring countries especially on the base of the common interests, but it does not mean that to maintain silence regarding the violation of our territories or our sovereignty or our people. - Is there are any agreement made regarding the political asylum seekers in Iraq to be deported to Britain for instance? Or to prepare a suitable return? Minister Al-Jaafari: one of our parameters in the terms of the Iraqi speech to the world is the Iraqi subjects. At each meeting we discuss the rights of Iraqi immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in these countries especially that if I visit Britain, there are a large number of Iraqis (more than six thousands Iraqi physicians and other specialties, business men who have good reputation, and they are active and communicating in good way with this society as they do in other countries. The advantage of Iraqi immigrants in all the world is they are enjoying the respect of the peoples and governments of the hosting countries; because of their scientific, financial resources. We conveyed their suffer, and heard that they are facing sort of hardships in communicating with them, we received good and positive answers. I talked before with the British State Minister of Foreign and Common Wealth Office before this meeting and discussed the issue of visa delay and the atmosphere preparation and he positively responded and promised, and the same for the rest of the world and not only for Great Britain. Its our responsibility that in everywhere there Iraqis it’s a must to convey their concerns and if they have any delayed rights. Its our responsibility to demand it for them. The statements of Turkish president Ardoghan regarding the entry and occupation of Mosul the Turkish party said they had the consent of Mr. Massoud Barzani to enter Iraq to train the Peshmerga and other forces, but there is no statement made by Mr. Massoud Barzani to deny the Turkish statement, does the presence of the Turkish troops will impede the progress of the Iraqi Security Forces to liberate the city of Mosul. Minister Al-Jaafari: I mentioned in more than one justification point of view, including: the coordination with government of Kurdistan region, and its denied and said: the Iraqi government is consented but we denied it either, then a statement made in the time of Tareq Aziz the former minister of foreign affairs in the 80s and we replied to them that it was about 48-72 hours period and with conditions, and the time period were elapsed and done, beside that the time is changed now and there is a decision passed by the Iraqi Parliament stipulates ban of any foreign troops to enter Iraqi territories and especially meant the Turkish troops. This answers your question since this issue is considered as an issue of sovereignty that takes an Iraqi shape, and its not considered as with due respect to all regions and provinces, its not a local matter lies within the province, or inside a local region, but it’s a matter of sovereignty decided by entire entity of the Iraqi government. Does the presence of these troops will impede the liberation operation of Mosul? Minister Al-Jaafari: the military experts really can answer this question, and we don’t want to be distracted by any side – line issues while we are working on this major case, and we are avoid to regionalize this operation, and we don’t want it to be reached to the international level. Yes, we need actual regional and international actions provided that to preserve the Iraqi Patriotic Attitude with its contents in warfare management for all its types in attack and defense. We rely on the Iraqi patriotic will, and it proved a sufficient competence represented by all factions of Iraqi Military Forces, Popular Mobilization, Peshmerga and Sons of Tribes whom all there efforts gathered towards this direction and they went through all these battled armed with more capacities than before and they are ready now to practice their expected role in Mosul. -there are 10 thousand military expert in Iraq came from different countries. Why the Iraqi government does not accept the presence of the Turkish Troops? or refused to participate in the liberation operation of city of Al-Mosul? Minister Al-Jaafari: the consulting concept regardless its number differs than the armed presence concept on the ground. The expert should take the visa with specific period of time permit via ministry of foreign affairs then he perform the consulting role and if required any extension, the visa is to be extended via ministry of foreign affairs and if the expert didn't get the permit of extension, he should leave the Iraqi territories.. As for the presence of military troops for 11o km in depth with heavy armored vehicles and without the acknowledge of the government! This concept it differs than that. We don’t want any country to interfere in our affairs as we don’t allow to ourselves to interfere in other countries affairs either. Any country wishes to provide assistance to Iraq, it should obtain an Iraqi approval first and go through Iraqi regulations and that what we did with all countries without any exceptions. - You initiated a phone call with the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Is there are more details about the subject, and does the popular mobilization have a role in liberating the territories and countering terrorism? Minister Al-Jaafari: as for the Egyptian minister of foreign affairs, he telephoned me and expressed his concerns regarding the latest Turkish statements, and we discussed together the nature of Iraqi stand when the Arab League take unanimous decision of condemning the Turkish violation and claimed Turkey to withdraw from Iraqi territories and he expressed his passionate and support to the Iraqi Stand. Concerning the Popular Mobilization, I think they far advanced after its participation in the field and assured its objectives behind its participation which it is patriotic, humanitarian objectives and its discipline and courage in sacrificing with its finest men as martyrs. In the conclusive statement of the latest Arab summit held in Mauritania and in the non – alliance countries conference, I mentioned the public mobilization and almost mentioned in every event and we identify it as patriotic Iraqi faction who stand beside other Iraqi security forces which include the Peshmerga, the sons of tribes , we should defend them and the picture looks brighter to all the world including Great Britain. -the American stand is unclear till this moment regarding Al-Mosul liberation, and so does for the Turkish troops entry, why? Minister Al-Jaafari: as I heard from the Prime Minister while I attended a meeting of the premier with U.S. president Mr. Obama and he said" we are against any foreign intervention" and he meant the Turkish entry into the Iraqi territories. Speaking of Popular Mobilization, are they going to participate in the Al-Mosul liberation operation? Minister Al-Jaafari: the Popular Mobilization is regarded as Iraqi patriotic faction and its extinguished of its intellectual background which makes it eligible to struggle and sacrifice for the sake of the country, and it proved that in the battle of Fallujah and ready to practice this role. Yes, the Public Mobilization will follow the orders of Iraqi Security Forces since its regarded as one of its features and affiliated to the Prime Minister and General Commander of Armed Forces. So when any mission is assigned to them, they will accept it and will react in the filed after conducting the appropriate coordination in the field just like what happened in Fallujah.