On June 10, 2017, MEP Lars Adaktusson, who is with the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP), issued an invitation to the Assyrian Democratic Movement (ADM) to attend the conference ‘A Future for the Christians in Iraq: Towards a Comprehensive Solution for the Nineveh Plain’. The ADM is addressing this statement to the leadership and general membership of the European Parliament to explain our decision to decline participating in this event and to question its motives and legitimacy.
MEP Adaktusson initiated the call for this conference following the passage of the Genocide Recognition resolution in October last year. Though our views were not solicited on the content of the resolution (of which there are strengths and weaknesses), there was no overt reason to doubt MEP Adaktusson’s intentions at the time. It has now become apparent to the ADM that MEP Adaktusson is supporting a particular agenda at the expense of our people’s declared political will and national interest.
The declared intention of MEP Adaktusson’s conference is to address ‘the right of return, reconciliation, security and the political future of the Nineveh Plain.’ Regrettably, MEP Adaktusson and the organizers have chosen to completely disregard the March 6, 2017 joint statement of our ten political parties that address all of these issues, among others, in detail. Instead of respecting the expressed political will of the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Christians in Iraq, MEP Adaktusson has sought to supplant our voices with that of his own and his advisors. Most worrying is that the conference policy document his office circulated contradicts his letter of October 29, 2016, which he asked our groups to sign. The October 29 letter was largely consistent with our policy objectives and was the basis of our confidence. The conference policy document is at odds with our policy objectives, leaving us feeling disappointed with the conference organizers. Worse still, the policy document and agenda for the conference were only properly shared in the days leading up to the conference after receiving visa invitation letters. Participants could only identify defects between what was previously agreed upon and the conference policy issues after the latter were tied to the issuance of travel visas.
Ultimately, MEP Adaktusson is proceeding with his conference in our name, without any respect for our will and constitutional principles, on a matter central to our existence and future. The following are the violations against what was agreed on by our people’s parties:
• completely omits reference to the Government of Iraq’s Cabinet decision to create a Nineveh Plain Province on January 21, 2014, and erases our call to activate the decision of the creation of the Nineveh Plain Province;
• rejects the demand for an international decision for peace monitoring in the Nineveh Plain to empower Iraqi minority administrative and security capabilities;
• calls for a restoration of the pre-ISIS/June 2014 security status quo which led to catastrophic conditions;
• excessively preferences participation by political and civil society organizations that are controlled by dominant entities that seek the confiscation of the free will of the people of the Nineveh Plain;
• and the most concerning, is imposing a referendum on the future status of the Nineveh Plain before the return of people and normalization of their situation, and in so doing, escalating the conflict between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Federal Government, thus continuing instability and impeding the return of our displaced people.
Our efforts to communicate these concerns and get a meaningful response have proven fruitless. In addition to the lack of transparency, there has been a willingness to undermine the political free will of an indigenous minority, impose an agenda contrary to our demands, and to contradict, in general, the values and principles of the European Parliament. Even though the conference is the product of an MEP’s efforts, it does reflect on the institution as a whole. We are confident that the European Parliament will continue to support Iraq and its fight against terrorism, and support the constitutional demands of our people and rest of the Iraqi people.
We hope this statement will help you appreciate and understand why we are compelled to reject the conference as well as question its motives and legitimacy. We hope you will be able to avoid responsibility for the negative outcomes if the conference leaders continue along the lines of the above methodology.
With our regards,
Assyrian Democratic Movement
Baghdad, June 27, 2017