It is a privilege to be here today. Representing the EU at this important meeting, in support of Iraq.
My good friend Brett McGurk has already mentioned the enormous challenges and efforts in protecting civilians in this conflict. My dear friend Lise Grande will shortly give you the shocking figures of this humanitarian tragedy.
I congratulate them for their exceptional work. In a very complex situation and under very difficult conditions. For facilitating the efforts to protect and assist those most in need. Together, of course, with all our humanitarian partners.
Our meeting today is taking place days after the liberation of Mosul from Daesh. This is a decisive step in the effort to eliminate terrorist control in parts of Iraq. And to free its people.
It is now essential to start re-building trust and reconciliation between all communities. So, that all Iraqis are able to start constructing a shared future.
Mosul is a mosaic of ethnic and religious groups. Therefore, what happens in Mosul now will shape the future of the whole of Iraq.
But let me reiterate something I have said before: Daesh must be defeated not only militarily. But also on the ideological battleground. We must defeat the ideology of terror, cultural destruction, intolerance and division. This is paramount for national reconciliation in Iraq.
To achieve reconciliation, impartial humanitarian aid is also essential. Because it creates the right environment to help the challenging reconciliation process.
There is no question: the severity and complexity of the humanitarian challenges will continue. And, potentially, they will increase.
That’s why our solid commitment is required. To ensure that all civilians are protected, in the upcoming Telafar, West Anbar, Hawidja operations. But also in their locations of displacement. Our commitment will remain based on our guiding humanitarian principles.
We commend the efforts of his Excellency, the Prime Minister of Iraq, to limit the growing number of violations against civilians, who flee Daesh controlled areas. And against the collective punishment for families regarded as “ISIL affiliates”.
However, these violations are reminders of the joint efforts that still are required. Especially for improving the rule of law and security sectors in the country. Particularly in regards to the situation in re-taken areas.
All these efforts are essential in “post Mosul/post Daesh” scenario. To save lives. They are also a fundamental cornerstone for reconciliation. Which is the only way to build a stable and prosperous Iraq.
We stand together to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of over 3.5 million forced displaced people in Iraq.
Since the beginning of this crisis, the EU has been at the forefront of the humanitarian response in Iraq: on funding, advocacy and steering humanitarian efforts. We are ready to do more.
I have just authorised additional thirty (30) million Euros for emergency life-saving humanitarian action, in this year. Bringing the total EU humanitarian contribution to Iraq to three hundred forty (340) million Euros. Since 2015.
The EU will continue to strongly support the emergency medical services for Mosul. An element of the humanitarian response in Iraq we are particular proud of. And which plays an important role in the reconciliation process.
Moreover, we will sustain the provision of emergency relief in newly retaken areas. And for newly displaced families.
For example, thanks to EU support, since last October, over fifteen thousand (15,000) people from Mosul city were referred to emergency medical services. The EU also supports the daily life-saving provision of over six thousand five hundred (6,500) cubic meters of water into Mosul city. As well as the rehabilitation of the water network.
We will also strengthen services connecting the current locations of displacement and potential areas of return. And we will support community based, actions. For both host communities and returnees.
Tackling the remaining root causes and reducing the emerging community tensions is paramount to achieve durable solutions. As well as stability and reconciliation in Iraq.
Reconciliation and stability require a comprehensive strategy in partnership with the Iraqi authorities. To maximize the benefits of our humanitarian, stabilization, early recovery and development support to the country.
It is essential to have our different kinds of support for Iraq complement one another. Humanitarian, stabilisation, early recovery and development funding must work hand in hand.
The EU is very keen on avoiding gaps between humanitarian and mid-longer term support. It is something we would like to see strengthened across the whole funding community.
We can succeed! But we must do more! Now! Strategically and together!