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The Spanish Government Is Trying To Stop The Activities In Gijón and Madrid


The Spanish Government is trying to stop the activities in Gijón and Madrid
Memo from the Spanish Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq
By CEOSI Organizing Committee | IraqSolidaridad | May 28, 2010

“CEOSI deplores the change of attitude of the Spanish government, which will complicate or delay what would have been an invaluable contribution to the success of a negotiated, democratic and binding solution in Iraq. The meetings organized in Spain encompass the participation of the highest representatives of the currents in the anti-occupation camp, along with Iraqi intellectuals and activists, international personalities and representatives of European and U.S. organizations. The rough draft of the final communiqué, which would be signed and presented in Gijón, would have been a remarkable contribution to this objective, as it would display for the first time a united and public commitment to a democratic reconstruction of Iraq and condemnation of terrorism.”

Today, on May 28, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has informed the Spanish Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI) of “the impossibility of its giving support of any type” to the activities planned in Gijón and Madrid between June 18 and 21 within the framework of the International Conference of the Iraqi Political Resistance: Iraq, sovereignty and democratic reconstruction [1]. CEOSI believes that with this unexpected decision, the Spanish Government is preventing (in fact, prohibiting) the two activities from being carried out as initially programmed [2], and is unexpectedly failing to fulfill commitments agreed upon with the activities’ organizers.

In relation to this, CEOSI makes the following statement:

1. CEOSI denounces the breach in the agreement reached between CEOSI and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in relation to this initiative, which included the commitment of the Spanish authorities to facilitate the presentation of visas to the Iraqis participating in the planned activities.

Since the month of September, in their repeated contacts with the responsible officials in the Ministry, CEOSI’s collaborators have informed to the Spanish government, without any ambiguity, of the reasoning and the objectives of the initiative, as well as of providing in detail the affiliations of each and every one of the Iraqi participants. At the request of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the CEOSI agreed to postpone the Conference —from the original March 12-14— to the dates now planned for June, thus confirming the Ministry’s commitment to have the Spanish embassies in Amman, Damascus and Baghdad issue the visas CEOSI had requested.

During these months on CEOSI’s part there has been absolutely no attempt to conceal, change or manipulate any of the content or objectives of the meeting in Gijón or the later activities in Madrid. In accordance with the Ministry’s request, CEOSI proceeded on March 7 to request that the aforementioned Spanish embassies issue visas to the Iraqi participants; some of the visas were granted immediately.

For that reason it is difficult to comprehend how the Ministry of a government and a sovereign country could suddenly change its position less than a month from the scheduled activities, unless it has bowed to external pressures. CEOSI had learned of this change of attitude this past Friday, May 21, through a telephone call from the General Subdivision of Near East of the Ministry, confirmed today through a succinct letter.

2. CEOSI deplores the change of attitude of the Spanish government, which will complicate or delay what would have been an invaluable contribution to the success of a negotiated, democratic and binding solution in Iraq. The meetings organized in Spain encompass the participation of the highest representatives of the currents in the anti-occupation camp, along with Iraqi intellectuals and activists, international personalities and representatives of European and U.S. organizations. The rough draft of the final communiqué, which would be signed and presented in Gijón, would have been a remarkable contribution to this objective, as it would display for the first time a united and public commitment to a democratic reconstruction of Iraq and condemnation of terrorism.

The Spanish government is preventing the entrance into Spain of those who are an indispensable part of the solution of the serious crisis that Iraq is experiencing. They express the genuine aspirations of the majority of Iraqi society for the recovery of Iraq’s total sovereignty and the end of the sectarian and reactionary system deriving from the 2003 occupation; their exclusion from Iraq’s future will only generate more frustration and violence. With their decision, the responsible Ministerial officials deny the evidence of Iraq’s current trend and reiterate their commitment to a regime that is beating international records for corruption and the violation of human rights, submits to the regional interests of third countries, and was established through regressive sectarian criteria and sustained by sectarian violence; under those conditions a sovereign and democratic reconstruction of Iraq could never be built.

3. CEOSI reiterates its demand that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation first explicitly clarify if those who already obtained their visa of entrance in Spain may travel to our country with total guarantees for their security; second, that it demand the de facto government of Iraq rectify its accusations against the Iraqi participants in the Conference, in particular the one that claims they “lend support and financing of violence.” [3] Such accusations place the Spanish government in a compromised position, since a good number of the Iraqi citizens who received visas to travel to our country in June had previously obtained entrance visas for Spain since 2005, some of them on repeated occasions. Regarding other cases this involves public officials representing recognized regional institutions or communities.

At a time when paramilitary forces are being reactivated in Iraq, CEOSI expresses its concern for the security of its invitees, particularly those who reside in Iraq, and asks the Spanish Government to demand from the interim Government of Nuri al-Maliki total guarantees with respect to their safety and security.

CEOSI reiterates its commitment to hold its initiative and will evaluate with its Iraqi, European and U.S. partners the situation created by the decision of the Spanish Government, studying the possible alternatives with the collaborating institutions of the Principality of the Government of Asturias and City Council of Gijón.

Notes:

1. See at IraqSolidaridad: http://www.iraqsolidaridad.org/2010/docs/conferencia_gijon.html.

2. See at IraqSolidaridad: http://www.iraqsolidaridad.org/2010/docs/programa_gijon.html.

3. See at en IraqSolidaridad: http://www.iraqsolidaridad.org/2010/docs/gobierno_iraqui.html

Please forward widely.
In solidarity,

CEOSI Organizing Committee
www.iraqsolidaridad.org

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