Sweden to host conference on Iraq

Sweden to host conference on Iraq
Photo: David Karp/AP/Scanpix
Sweden is planning to arrange a UN conference on the future of Iraq at the end of May.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt delivered the news to Swedish journalists in Bucharest following a one-on-one meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

“I’ve discussed the possibility with Ban Ki-Moon of holding a UN-led international conference on Iraq, where we will be part of a UN-effort to put a better process in place when it comes to development in Iraq,” said Reinfeldt following his meeting with the UN Secretary General.

“This is a way to show that the UN can have a stronger role in facing the challenges associated with improving development on the ground in Iraq, and for that reason I’ve indicated that it would mean a great deal to us that Ban Ki-Moon himself come, and he has also demonstrated a will to visit us bilaterally and speak with us in Sweden,” he said.

According to Reinfeldt, the government is expecting high-level representatives from various countries and international organizations.

On the question of who he wants to see represent the United States, Reinfeldt mentioned Condoleeza Rice. But he has not yet had any contacts with American officials regarding the question.

The starting point for the conference will be discussion of civilian missions in war-torn Iraq

“And it ought to be continually emphasized, in light of Afghanistan and Iraq, that if there is to be peace on the ground, if development is to be improved, then it always starts with the military doing its job; but what’s really important is to lay the groundwork for civilian missions, that which builds a country in the long term; which creates better living conditions; and where Sweden plans to be very active.”