Those who broke Iraq should pay to fix it
Posted: Thursday, October 16, 2003

By Zia Iqbal Shahid,

BRUSSELS: Prior to an important meeting of the European Union heads of state and government, anti-war EU member states have expressed their 'considered opinion' that "those who broke Iraq should pay to fix it," a prominent EU diplomat told The News.

The heads of state and government from 25 European countries, 15 member states and 10 accession countries of the EU, are scheduled to meet in Brussels on October 16 ( tomorrow) to discuss the critical situation in Iraq and Middle East, while most of the EU member states insist that power should be transferred to the elected representatives of the peoples of Iraq and the environment to implement the Middle Roadmap must be restored as soon as possible.

France and Germany, besides some other member states of the EU are expected to raise their voice in the EU summit in favour of restoration of democracy in Iraq.

France and Germany want the United Nations to have a stronger role in running Iraq and are demanding a quick transfer of power to the Iraqis.

This would be the first meeting at this level during the Italian Presidency of the European Union, which took the office in July 2003.

A source at the EU Presidency told that the EU summit would provide an opportunity to the European Heads of State and Government, to have frank and free exchange of views on the main developments at Union and international level.

The European Council is also expected to consider some issues related to the new EU constitution including affairs related to the future countenance of the EU.

"The EU is very meticulously watching the developments taking place at the Organisation of Islamic Conference summit in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The views of the Islamic world would also be considered during the process of evolving a common European position on the issues like Iraq and the Middle East," the Union official said.

Observers here in Brussels expect heated debate on the
developments taking place in Iraq.

The European Council is meeting after European Union foreign ministers endorsed a pledge of only 200m euros ($236m), which is seen as the tiny proportion of the $55bn that the World Bank says is required over the next four years to rebuild the war-ravaged country.

The European Union is the world's biggest aid donor, but in the case of Iraq EU member states are showing trepidation as some European Union countries, which opposed the war are uncomfortable with the way the United States runs Iraq, and are reluctant to make any major contribution arguing that European Union budget is already stretched with priorities such as Afghanistan, Liberia and the West Bank and Gaza Strip and more funds cannot be made available for reconstruction in Iraq.

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