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Congresses

Speeches at the XXIII Congress of the Socialist International, Athens
Global Solidarity: The courage to make a difference


SPEECH OF H.E. JALAL TALABANI, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ

 
 
Dear Comrades,

I greet you warmly and wish for your venerable conference success in achieving its aims. I am honoured to be invited to address you about the struggle for peace and the resolution of conflict and the removal of instability.

 

These aims represent the most noble endeavour of mankind, throughout history and in particular after the second world war, and the subsequent regional wars which cost humanity the lives of millions and destroyed the wealth of peoples and many of their historic and cultural relics which represented the creativity of humanity.

 

In our globalized world these aims have become sacred and urgent. Globalization is manifested through accelerating developments in information technology and communications, multinational companies, the convergence of industries and the supremacy of capitalist markets in the world. It has resulted in greater capacity to respond to the demands and requirements of modern life and made possible the protection of security and stability and the promotion of values of freedom, democracy and human rights. All that confirms the urgent necessity to achieve these aims for the good of all humanity.

 

We are aided in this by the “balance of terror” in the world represented by the huge stocks of nuclear weapons and rockets which make it impossible to “rationally” start a world war between the great powers.

 

Europe which was the source and theatre of world wars, is moving decisively and speedily towards ever greater unity by enlarging its common market, and unified currency, and putting behind its historic enmities.

 

Asia is also tending towards a policy of cooperation and accord between its states and political systems. The People’s Republic of China which possesses gigantic rates of growth is showing a clear preference to resolve its disputes with rebellious regions such as Taiwan which is and has always been part of the China homeland, through political and diplomatic means showing such flexibility as to accept two social and political systems within the same state, and guaranteeing full freedoms and authorities to such regions.

 

In our Middle East region a major source of instability has been eradicated by the removal of the Saddam Dictatorship which waged a war of genocide on the Iraqi people and wars of aggression on its neighbours the Islamic Republic of Iran and the brotherly State of Kuwait. These wars resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and many more who were injured and disabled, as well as hundreds of thousands of widows and orphans. It also squandered billions of dollars of wealth leaving behind widespread destruction in Iraq. We now need many billions of dollars and huge efforts to rebuild our country and renew it.

 

The Arab Israeli conflict is moving into a new phase characterized by the adoption of the Arab peace initiative which enjoys the unanimous support of all Arab States, calling for the establishment of two states living side by side in peace, one Palestinian and the other Israeli, and the normalization of Arab Israeli relations by the implementation of UN resolutions, and respecting international legitimacy. That would guarantee that Israel can live in peace and security with neighbours who are prepared to establish commercial, economic and diplomatic relations that benefit all.

 

The Syria-Israeli negotiations mediated by Turkey’s [Justice and Development] government, comes in this context to reinforce this positive momentum and bring a breath of fresh optimism and hope.

 

Africa is witnessing serious attempts to lay solid foundations of accord and cooperation as is the case of Latin America.

 

This broad canvas of positive achievements and tendencies that I have described does not mean that the peace that we seek has been achieved or that conflicts have disappeared. The imperialist countries which had occupied Asian and African countries for period of time left behind them many problems and border disputes, as a result of their lack of respect of the right of people to self determination, and instituting arbitrary borders. It is said, for example, that a British representative used to draw the borders of Arab gulf countries by his walking stick on sands!

 

But in reviewing this complex scene of conflict in various continents and countries, I do not wish to under-estimate the remaining conflict and disputes which threaten to erupt in destructive wars whose consequences go beyond the countries of the conflict to affect many others either directly or indirectly or by the proxy, as in the case of Arab Israeli conflict of the Cyprus or Kashmir conflicts.

 

What makes things worse is the great wave of blind terrorism, which emanated from the Middle East and Africa and threatens to engulf the world. This represents a threat to peace and stability in many countries including our country Iraq which has achieved notable victories against the invading terrorism from outside and local militias. But despite these victories, Iraq still struggles against the evils of this destruction world scourge.

 
Dear comrades
 

This scene with its achievements, progress, contradictions and conflict requires of our International movement serious efforts to achieve peace and remove conflict, disputes and outstanding problems.

 

Let me be frank with you. It is not acceptable and not consistent with our principles, for the Socialist International to stand by and be indifferent to the urgent issues and tasks on our time. There is glorious historic role awaiting us and must shoulder it.

 

I beg your indulgence, to express my opinions and suggestions from this forum, in comradely frankness about the honourable task that the Socialist International and its component parties can undertake;

 
First:

Initiate a comprehensive project based on the principles of self determination and human rights which adopts peaceful political resolutions of disputes and emphasizes the renunciation of terrorism and the condemnation of the use of violence against civilians by individuals, organizations and governments and the exclusive use of peaceful political, diplomatic, media and public information means to achieve the legitimate aims of peoples. This approach which is in harmony with our times, goes against armed struggle and the policy of aggression.

The Socialist International presents its project for conflict resolution to the various concerned parties separately and makes efforts through dialogue and engagement to adopt it in specific tangible cases.

 
Second:

Organize and mobilize an international campaign using various media to explain and promote this broad project, its significance, methodology and instruments, and the principles and international resolutions upon which it rests reflecting the will of peoples for self determination and the attendant dangers of regional wars that threaten the security and prosperity of those peoples.

 

Such a campaign requires the widest use of mass media to have the largest possible reach by audio, video and printed media as well as seminars symposia and other public meetings.

 
Third:

The formation of a “High Committee” made up of prominent leaders of the Socialist International to undertake the formulation of this project and the public information and media program to promote it and to organize and supervise political and diplomatic activity on regional and international levels and the convening of meetings and conferences both local and international to bring success to the efforts for peace and security and the resolution of conflicts and to extinguish the centers of tension in the world. The variety and extent of these tasks mean that this “High Committee” will need to form subsidiary committees:

A subcommittee at the UN, of representatives of the governments led by socialist parties – to undertake effective and continual work inside the UN, the Security Council, Human Rights Council, and other committees, to explain the aims of “the Project” and call upon member states to adopt them and be in the context of UN and Security Council resolutions. This committee can monitor activities, conflicts and violations connected with its fields, and raise these issues in the fora (forum) of the UN.

Similar special Subcommittees to be formed at the EC, the OIC, the non-Aligned Conference and the Arab League to achieve the aims of “The Project”.

A special subcommittee should be formed for the continual and effective follow up the resolution of the Arab Israeli conflict. This subcommittee will adopt political and diplomatic solutions and seek to implement them in accordance with international resolutions, and aim to reject violence and the use of weapons and terrorism by all parties and utilize international effort to help resolve the conflict.

Re-activating the special committee on the rights of the Kurdish people and forming special subcommittees to follow up and deal with Cyprus, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

 
Fourth:

Mandate members’ parties to strictly adhere to the International Project and support the activities of the various committees and contribute positively towards the resolution of conflict relating to their countries. In that way the member parties become the true representatives of the principles of the Socialist International and the essence and particulars of its International Project for peace and security.

 
Fifth:

To actively contribute to negotiations and mediations aimed at the resolution of regional conflicts.

 
Sixth:

Cooperate and coordinate with international organizations based on the legitimacy of international resolutions and support collective efforts to help our “International Project” succeed.

 
Seventh:

Work to mobilize international public opinion in all countries and gain the support of working people, their organization, parliaments, trade unions and political parties for “The Project” and endeavour resolve the international conflicts and condemn all forces opposed to “The Project” its aims and aspirations.

 
Eighth:
 

Cooperate and coordinate with national and international unions, trade unions, women’s students and youth organizations and civil society, human rights activists and others to achieve the widest man mobilization under the guidance of the “High Committee” of the Socialist International to promote our project for the resolution of regional conflict and extinguishing centers of tensions and defuse wars and establish lasting peace and sustained security.

 
Dear Comrades,
 

I do not claim that these proposals for an “International Project” are a magic solution for achieving peace and security, but I believe they represent a start for serious diligent work for vital forces which recognizes that it is its own interest to accomplish this noble humanitarian aim.

 

I base this on the proper appreciation of the immense ability and capacity of the Socialist International and its influence in key places in this world. This influence can be used in an effective and sustained manner to remove obstacles, untie complex knots and open the vistas of hope before humanity which thirsts for peace. It can lay the foundation for resolving conflict and extinguishing fires.

This historic era which the Socialist International is passing through, is distinguished by new positive features. It demands of our parties and forces serious and diligent effort in unity to fulfil our glorious historic role.

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