Catherine Ashton Calls for a Camp Ashraf Resolution

Baroness Catherin AshtonThe High Representative of Foreign Affairs of the European Union, Baroness Catherine Ashton, in a press briefing , yesterday 23 May, told reporters that one of the subjects discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council was “Camp Ashraf.”  

“Those of you who have seen the debates in the EP will also know how important the issue of Camp Ashraf is,” said Ashton to reporters.

“Without questioning Iraq’s sovereignty, we have emphasized the need to respect human rights,” stressed Ashton referring to the assault of 8 April on the camp residents by Iraqi Army.  She continued, “This was the first time that we have discussed this at the FAC, but I felt it was important that we address this. And we have agreed on the importance of working with the UN and US in particular, to seek a lasting resolution to those issues.”

The subject of Camp Ashraf and the Iraqi attack on its unarmed residents was a major subject in the European Parliament debates during the last plenary session two weeks ago.  Many MEPs condemned the action and called on the High Representative to take actions.

In the plenary session, Baroness Ashton called the actions by the Iraqi government deplorable and vowed to bring up the matter at the Council of Foreign Ministers this week.

An Earlier visit to Iraq by the European Parliament’s Delegation to Iraq could not yield to a visitation at the camp.  “That is out of the question,” Replied Hoshyar Zebari, Iraqi Foreign Minister to MEP Struan Stevenson who headed the EP Delegation.

On its return the delegation proposed an initiative for a resolution to the humanitarian situation at Camp Ashraf.  The initiative provides for a permanent repatriation of the 3500 camp residents the European countries, America, Canada and Australia.

Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, expressed hope after the Councils meeting yesterday that EU would urgently adopt a practical measure to guarantee protection of camp residents.  “Six weeks after the 8 April attack there is yet to be any practical measure to guarantee the protection of Ashraf,” said Rajavi in a press release yesterday. 

Rajavi asked the FAC to support the EP initiative as a peaceful response to Ashraf crisis.  She also warned about any type of displacement of the residents inside Iraq as a prelude to a much larger massacre and as a plan by the Iranian regime to neutralize the EP plan.