Your Excellency Minister Gheit of the host Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt,
Your Excellency Prime Minister of Iraq Mr. Maliki,
Your Excellency Mr. Secretary-General,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking our host, Egypt, and in particular Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, for the warm hospitality extended to all of us and congratulate the Egyptian Government on the successful organization of this Conference in one of the most beautiful sites of Egypt, Sharm-el-Sheikh. I would like also to express my deep appreciation for the efforts undertaken by the UN Secretariat and the UN Secretary-General personally during the whole process leading to the conclusion and signing of the International Compact with Iraq.
Iraq needs peace, security and stability, as well as viable economic development. We all gathered today to reiterate our strong commitment to achieving these goals.
In this context, I would like to express once more the support of my country for a secure, stable, democratic, prosperous and unified Iraq. The independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq are objectives we should all share. Greece would like to see Iraq rebuilding its political and legal institutions, reforming its economy and revitalizing its civil society. The Greek Government therefore hopes that tomorrow’s Ministerial Meeting will produce concrete and positive results for Iraq’s future.
Both as member of the European Union as well as in our national capacity, we are fully supportive of the efforts undertaken by the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi people to restore peace and promote national reconciliation and the rule of law. To this end, the contribution of Greece to Iraq’s reconstruction effort so far totals the sum of fourteen million, five hundred and five thousand euros (€14,505,000). Moreover, in recognition of our role as donor country, Greece has recently been elected rotating member at the International Reconstruction Fund Facility (IRFFI) Donor Committee for Iraq.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Reiterating once again our engagement to the speedy reconstruction of Iraq, the Greek Government is pleased to announce its readiness to proceed to the relief of the Iraqi debt to the Greek State, on the basis of the terms and conditions set out by the Paris Club of Creditors.
Let me stress here that the nature of Iraq’s debt towards Greece is both towards Greek private companies and towards the Greek State.
To this end, my Government has decided to proceed to the relief of 80% of Iraq’s debt towards the Greek State and we are ready to discuss with the representatives of the friendly Iraqi Government, in Athens next week, the modalities of our offer.