Wien, 30. June 2004 Press release

Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner welcomes the transfer of powers to Iraqi transitional government

30.06.2004

"Major goal of the efforts of the EU and Austria has been reached"

Vienna, 30 June 2004 - "The transfer of Iraq’s sovereignty to an Iraqi transitional government on 28 June 2004 complies with UN Security Council Resolution 1546. The restoration of Iraq’s sovereignty has always been a major goal of the efforts of the European Union and Austria", said Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner after returning from the NATO summit in Istanbul on Tuesday evening. The situation in Iraq had been a top item on the agenda of this meeting.

"It will now be the task of the transitional government to restore security, stability and peace in Iraq. To this end, Iraq needs the support of the international community. The EU has expressed its willingness to cooperate with Iraq as partners in order to meet these objectives, and above all to support the political transformation process and the holding of democratic elections", Ferrero-Waldner added.

According to the Foreign Minister, the normalisation of the situation, the stabilisation of Iraq and the protection of territorial integrity were also issues of vital importance for Europe.

In this context, the Minister recalled Austria’s efforts to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq, notably by pledges made at the Madrid Donors’ Conference in October 2003, as well as Austria’s participation in the "adopt-a-hospital" programme in South Iraq and the establishment of a centre for war-traumatised children together with Slovenia and Jordan in the framework of the Human Security Network. Furthermore, the official visit of Iraqi Ministers of Planning and Transport to Austria in April of this year and their political contacts as well as talks with representatives of the business community highlight Austria’s commitment to the reconstruction of Iraq and to reviving the traditionally good relations, especially in the economic sector.