Antonio Guterrs and Martik Kobler urge protection, durable solution for residents of transit camp Liberty

Antonio Guterrs and Martik Kobler urge protection, durable solution for residents of transit camp Liberty

Antonio Guterrs and Martik Kobler urge protection, durable solution for residents of  transit camp Liberty

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… At a meeting in Geneva today, the High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, discussed the process of resettling the residents of the camp to third countries and voiced their concern about their safety and security. “After the despicable attacks on Camp Liberty on 9 February, it is particularly important that we redouble our efforts to resettle the residents and find durable solutions for them outside Iraq as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Kobler. He noted that, under the memorandum of understanding of 25 December 2011, the Government of Iraq is responsible …


The Life of Camp Ashraf,
Mojahedin-e Khalq Victims of Many Masters

UN News Centre, March 02 2013
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44262&Cr=iraq&Cr1=

1 March 2013 – Senior United Nations officials today stressed the need to redouble efforts to resettle residents of an Iranian exile camp near the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, which was the scene of recent attacks, and to find durable solutions for them outside of Iraq.

Camp Liberty, which houses more than 3,000 exiles, most of them members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran, was attacked on 9 February while most of the residents were sleeping. Six people were reportedly killed and several injured.

The camp is serving as a transit facility for the exiles while the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) carries out a process to determine their refugee status.

At a meeting in Geneva today, the High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler, discussed the process of resettling the residents of the camp to third countries and voiced their concern about their safety and security.

“After the despicable attacks on Camp Liberty on 9 February, it is particularly important that we redouble our efforts to resettle the residents and find durable solutions for them outside Iraq as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Kobler.

He noted that, under the memorandum of understanding of 25 December 2011, the Government of Iraq is responsible for the security and safety of the residents.

Mr. Kobler also thanked Mr. Guterres for the efforts of UNHCR and assured him that the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), which he heads, will continue to support the agency to bring about a quick resettlement of the residents to third countries.

“UNHCR strongly calls on all countries to redouble their efforts to find humanitarian solutions for this population outside Iraq and urges the Iraqi Government to do everything possible in the meantime to guarantee a safe and secure environment for this population,” the agency added in a news release.

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/index.php?mod=view&id=14522

UN chief condemns attack on Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) camp in Iraq

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… The camp serves as a transit facility for more than 3,000 exiles, most of them members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran, where a process to determine their refugee status is being carried out by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Camp residents were previously situated at Camp Ashraf in eastern Iraq, but were relocated last year, in line with an agreement signed in December 2011 between the UN and the Iraqi Government. “The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Iraq, which is responsible for the safety and security of residents …


(Rajavi, Saddam and the Mojahedin Khalq logo)


(Terrorist MEK, disarmed after the fall of Saddam)

UN News centre, February 10 2013
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44105&Cr=Iraq&Cr1=

9 February 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly condemned a mortar attack on an Iranian exile camp near Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, which reportedly killed six people and injured several others.

According to media reports, the Hurriya camp, formerly known as Camp Liberty, was attacked this morning while most of the residents were sleeping. Iraqi police officers were among the wounded.

The camp serves as a transit facility for more than 3,000 exiles, most of them members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran, where a process to determine their refugee status is being carried out by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Camp residents were previously situated at Camp Ashraf in eastern Iraq, but were relocated last year, in line with an agreement signed in December 2011 between the UN and the Iraqi Government.

“The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Iraq, which is responsible for the safety and security of residents of both Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf, to promptly and fully investigate the incident and bring perpetrators to justice,” said Mr. Ban’s spokesperson in a statement. “He has repeatedly stated that violence and provocation are unacceptable.”

Mr. Ban also reiterated the UN’s strong commitment to continue its long-standing efforts to facilitate a peaceful and durable solution for residents of both camps.

The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, expressed his shock about the attack calling it “a despicable act of violence.”

“I call on the Iraqi Government to do everything it can to guarantee security to the residents,” he said. “The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice without delay.”

In a news release, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said it is closely liaising with the Government on the response to the incident, including medical assistance to the wounded.

Mr. Ban’s Special Representative in the country, Martin Kobler, has also asked Iraqi authorities to promptly conduct an investigation into the mortar explosions.

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=12933

Ban Ki-moon called for peaceful evacuation of Camp Ashraf without delay

(HQ of Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

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… Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the Iraqi government and an Iranian opposition group that was given refuge in the country during Saddam Hussein’s rule on Monday to work together to peacefully complete the group’s relocation without further delay. Nearly 2,000 members of The People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran have moved from Camp Ashraf in northwestern Iraq to Camp Hurriya on the deserted former U.S. military base outside Baghdad known as Camp Liberty. But about 1,300 have refused to go until the Iraqi government meets their demands. They had been living in exile at Camp Ashraf in Iraq since Saddam welcomed them three decades ago …

 

 

Associated Press, July 17 2012
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe
/un-chief-urges-iraq-and-iranian-opposition-group-to-
work-together-to-finish-groups-relocation/
2012/07/16/gJQAJp3wpW_story.html

UN chief urges Iraq and Iranian opposition group to work together to finish group’s relocation

UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the Iraqi government and an Iranian opposition group that was given refuge in the country during Saddam Hussein’s rule on Monday to work together to peacefully complete the group’s relocation without further delay.

Nearly 2,000 members of The People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran have moved from Camp Ashraf in northwestern Iraq to Camp Hurriya on the deserted former U.S. military base outside Baghdad known as Camp Liberty. But about 1,300 have refused to go until the Iraqi government meets their humanitarian demands, including the transfer of air conditioners, power generators, trucks and other items to their new location.

They had been living in exile at Camp Ashraf in Iraq since Saddam welcomed them three decades ago in a common fight against Iran. But they are now being pressured to leave by the new Iraqi government, whose Shiite officials want to build stronger ties with Iran.

The Iraqi government has set a July 20 deadline for the group, also known by its Farsi name, Mujahedeen-e-Khalq or MEK, to vacate Ashraf entirely.

Anglican leaders in Ireland and Britain wrote a letter to the secretary-general urging the U.N. and the U.S. to press the Iraqi government to improve humanitarian conditions so the Ashraf residents can relocate.

In a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Monday, Ban called on the Iraqi government and residents of both camps “to continue to work together in a constructive and flexible manner in order to complete the relocation process without further delay.”

He stressed the importance of residents of both camps cooperating with Iraqi authorities and stressed the U.N.’s commitment to a peaceful solution.

The Anglican leaders expressed alarm about the possible use of force against the people of Camp Ashraf and drew attention to the shortage of water, food, medicine and medical treatment at Camp Hurriya. They said further relocations were halted becuse Iraq reneged on earlier agreements.

“We believe that the international community, the United Nations and the people of the United States of America are at one in desiring morally acceptable humanitarian standards for all people,” the leaders said. “We believe that the residents have shown clear commitment to a peaceful resolution of the crisis and are prepared fully to relocate to Camp Liberty as soon as minimum humanitarian provisions are put in place.”

The letter was signed by Archbishop of Armagh A.E.T. Harper, the Primate of All Ireland, and supported by the archbishop of Wales, 18 bishops and three ministers.

The People’s Mujahedeen carried out a series of bombings and assassinations against Iran’s clerical regime in the 1980s and fought alongside Saddam’s forces in the Iran-Iraq war but it says it renounced violence in 2001. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is under court order to decide by October whether to remove the group from the U.S. terrorism list.

The group says the Iraqi government has used its terrorist status to justify mistreatment of the residents — an Iraqi army raid last year left 34 exiles dead — and has made it difficult to relocate the residents to other countries.
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Associated Press Writer Shawn Pogatchnik in Belfast, Northern Ireland, contributed to this report.

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=12895

Kobler-Maliki agree to move Mojahedin Khalq organisation in accordance with deadlines

(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

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Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq Martin Kobler agreed to close the file on the Mojahedin Khalq organisation and move them accordance with established deadlines. The statement said “Prime Minister al-Maliki met with the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq Martin Kobler in his office today.During the meeting, the importance of cooperation and coordination between the Iraqi government and UN representative in helping each other to perform the tasks entrusted to them were emphasized” pointing out …

 

Al-Forat News, Baghdad, July 10 2012
(Translated by Iran Interlink)

Link to the original report (Arabic)
http://www.alforatnews.com/index.php?option=com_
content&view=article&id=17199:2012-07-10-12-35-14&catid=
36:2011-04-08-17-25-25&Itemid=54

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq Martin Kobler agreed to close the file on the Mojahedin Khalq organisation and move them accordance with established deadlines.

A statement issued on Tuesday by the office of the Prime Minister said, “Prime Minister al-Maliki met with the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq Martin Kobler in his office today.

During the meeting, the importance of cooperation and coordination between the Iraqi government and UN representative in helping each other to perform the tasks entrusted to them were emphasized” pointing out that “issues of common interest were also discussed during the meeting.”

Link to the original report (Arabic)
http://www.alforatnews.com/index.php?option=com_
content&view=article&id=17199:2012-07-10-12-35-14&catid=
36:2011-04-08-17-25-25&Itemid=54

المالكي وكوبلر يتفقان على المضي بإنهاء ملف وجود منظمة خلق وفق المواعيد المحددة

{بغداد:الفرات نيوز} اتفق رئيس الوزراء نوري المالكي وممثل الامين العام للامم المتحدة في العراق مارتن كوبلر على المضي بإنهاء ملف وجود منظمة خلق وفق المواعيد المحددة.

وذكر بيان صدر عن رئاسة الوزراء اليوم الثلاثاء ان “المالكي استقبل بمكتبه الرسمي اليوم ممثل الامين العام للامم المتحدة في العراق مارتن كوبلر، وجرى خلال اللقاء التأكيد على أهمية التعاون والتنسيق بين الحكومة العراقية وممثلية الامم المتحدة بمايساعدها في أداء المهام الموكلة اليها “، مشيرا الى ان “اللقاء تم خلاله ايضا بحث القضايا ذات الاهتمام المشترك”.

وأضاف ان “المالكي أكد على ضرورة الاسراع بتشكيل مجلس مفوضية الانتخابات واختيار اعضاء يتمتعون بالاستقلالية والكفاءة، الى جانب إقرار القوانين ذات العلاقة بعمل المفوضية العليا المستقلة للانتخابات”.انتهى

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Also
http://www.iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=12887

Ambassador Daniel Benjaminan and Ambassador Daniel Fried on Mojahedin Khalq Terrorist designation and Camp Ashraf

(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

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… The MEK seems to have misinterpreted the June 1 order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. MEK leaders appear to believe that the Secretary has no choice now but to delist them. That conclusion is quite plainly wrong. In short, the court did not order the Secretary of State to revoke the MEK designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. As the Secretary has made clear, the MEK’s cooperation in the successful and peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf will be a key factor in her decision regarding the MEK’s FTO status. The court has told the State Department that it must act by October 1, but it did not mandate a particular result …


(Rajavi, Saddam and the Mojahedin Khalq logo)


(Terrorist MEK, disarmed after the fall of Saddam)

U.S. Department of State, July 10 2012
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/07/194656.htm

Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ambassador Daniel Benjamin and Special Advisor to the Secretary on Camp Ashraf Ambassador Daniel Fried on the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) Designation and the Current Situation at Camp Ashraf

Special Briefing
Office of the Spokesperson
Via Teleconference

July 6, 2012

MR. VENTRELL: Hey. Good afternoon, everybody, and thanks for joining us. Today, we’ve got an on-the-record conference call with Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and Ambassador Daniel Fried, our Special Advisor on Camp Ashraf.

And so we’re going to go ahead and start this on-the-record call. I believe Ambassador Benjamin will make some remarks at the top, and then we’ll turn it over to both of our speakers for questions. So let’s go ahead and start.

Ambassador Benjamin.

AMBASSADOR BENJAMIN: Yes. Thank you very much. I wanted to talk today a bit about the situation in Iraq, where there is an impasse between the Iraqi Government and the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the MEK, over the relocation of residents from the group’s paramilitary Camp Ashraf to the temporary transit facility at Camp Hurriya. The Iraqi Government and the United Nations continue to encourage the secure, humane relocation of residents to Hurriya for refugee status determinations by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. Almost 2,000 individuals have already relocated, but the remaining 1,200 to 1,300 are holding at Ashraf until various MEK demands are met by the Iraqi Government. The last convoy of individuals, about 400 people, was on May 5th. And the patience of the Iraqi Government is wearing thin.

The MEK seems to have misinterpreted the June 1 order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. MEK leaders appear to believe that the Secretary has no choice now but to delist them. That conclusion is quite plainly wrong. In short, the court did not order the Secretary of State to revoke the MEK designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. As the Secretary has made clear, the MEK’s cooperation in the successful and peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf will be a key factor in her decision regarding the MEK’s FTO status. The court has told the State Department that it must act by October 1, but it did not mandate a particular result. I think that’s very important to underscore. The Secretary thus retains the discretion to either maintain or revoke the designation in accordance with the law. It is past time for the MEK to recognize that Ashraf is not going to remain an MEK base in Iraq. The Iraqi Government is committed to closing it, and any plan to wait out the government in the hope that something will change is irresponsible and dangerous.

The MEK is a group whose violent history against the United States includes the bombing of U.S. companies in Iran, the assassination of seven U.S. citizens, and the provision of support for the attack, occupation, and hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The MEK is also one of the few foreign groups to attempt an attack on U.S. soil when, in 1992, it launched near simultaneous attacks in 13 countries, including against the Iranian mission to the UN in New York. Even the MEK itself has admitted to continuing violent attacks until 2001.

With such a history, cooperating fully with the UN’s efforts in Iraq would be a tangible demonstration that the MEK has left its violent past behind and that it no longer retains the capability and intent to engage in acts of terrorism. This is the MEK’s moment to show that it has taken on a fundamentally different character. It should act quickly and complete the relocation and close Camp Ashraf.

And with that, I’ll be happy to take your questions.

MR. VENTRELL: Operator, if we can go ahead and get the first question.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Once again, if you would like to ask a question, please press *1 on your touchtone telephone. You will be prompted to record your name in order to be introduced. Once again, press * and 1. One moment.

Our first question comes from Bahman Kalbasi from BBC Persian. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Thank you. I have two questions for the ambassadors. You talked about tangible change in their behavior. If the criteria for removing them from the FTO is to not have the capability and the intent, how does changing the location from Ashraf, as the Secretary has indicated, gets them closer to that removal? U.S. Government has said to NBC, for instance, that as late as February, that they were involved with the assassination of scientists in Iran.

And my second question really is that if you end up removing them, mindful of the unprecedented lobbying that is going on, are you worried that this will politicize the FTO? It will show that at the end of the day, politics trumps everything else?

AMBASSADOR BENJAMIN: Let me take the second question first. The – any decision, one way or the other will be taken entirely on the merits, and we’re committed to doing it that way and no other way. And that’s our requirement under the law.

On the other point, I can assure you that I have never said that they were involved in current assassinations in Iran. That was a story that ran, and I have no information to confirm that, so I certainly wouldn’t have said it. What I have given you is the established record, and nothing more and nothing less.

QUESTION: But how does it – removing them from Ashraf change the issue of intent?

AMBASSADOR BENJAMIN: Right. Well, the history and the use of Ashraf is that of an MEK paramilitary base. It’s where the MEK had its heavy weaponry and from which it carried out a number of military operations during the reign of Saddam Hussein. The MEK’s relocation will assist the Secretary in determining whether the organization remains invested in its violent past or is committed to leaving that past behind. And that really is going to be a very important illustration – or demonstration, I should say – of what the MEK’s orientation in the future will be.

So I do want to say that it is an absolutely essential move and we hope that they will get – move forward with it.

MR. VENTRELL: Operator, can we get the next question?

OPERATOR: Our next question will come from Robert Burns – your line is open – from the Associated Press.

QUESTION: Yes, thank you. Regarding your encouragement for them to complete the relocation, if they don’t complete the move by October, is it the case that they won’t be de-listed?

AMBASSADOR BENJAMIN: I’m not going to prejudge the Secretary’s action on this, but she has made it extremely clear how important this step is. And she is sticking by that and this is the message everyone involved needs to understand.

OPERATOR: Our next question will come from Mehrnoush Pourziaiee from BBC. Your line is open.

QUESTION: My question is regarding the dates that Iraqi Government has given, which is 20th of July for the closure of Camp Ashraf. And has there been any communication with U.S. Ambassador in Iraq and Iraqi Government on the Iraqi side plans in case the relocation is not complete by that time?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: This is Daniel Fried speaking. Our charge in Baghdad, Steve Beecroft, has been in contact with the Iraqi Government at senior levels on more than one occasion recently about the situation with respect to Camp Ashraf. Specific to your question, you are right that July 20th is a date set by the Iraqi Government by which they want Camp Ashraf to be emptied.

Now, in the past, the Iraqi Government has extended deadlines when there has been significant progress in moving people out of Camp Ashraf, and it is our hope – though only a hope – that if there is significant progress in the next two weeks, that deadline could be extended. However, that puts – that date should put everyone on notice and the MEK on notice that it needs to proceed with the next convoy of people out of Camp Ashraf. There have been five convoys. All have been successful; that is, they went from Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriya peacefully, without roadside bombs or attacks. And this process needs to resume.

QUESTION: And in the previous briefing, the officials of State Department mentioned that there has been no communication from MEK with UN officials or Iraqi Government, and they have stopped all the communication. Have you tried different channels to get this message to them, or what are you doing to make sure that they get the seriousness of this issue?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: Well, I’m happy to tell you that after a lot of work, communications have resumed. It took a frustratingly long period of time to arrange it. But Ambassador Kobler, the head of the UN Mission in Iraq, is back in contact with the MEK, has allowed this contact to resume. So these messages have been sent.

It is – we are all – that is, the U.S. Embassy – we at the State Department and the UN are all working hard to address as many legitimate concerns of the residents of Camp Hurriya and Camp Ashraf as we can in order that conditions be met for convoys to resume. And we do think that the Government of Iraq could and should do more to address these legitimate humanitarian concerns and show generosity to the residents. And there has been some progress in that regard. We hope that this progress – in fact, it’s imperative this progress be made swiftly and that the convoys of residents resume.

QUESTION: And Ambassador Fried, I have a question regarding Camp Ashraf itself. We have various accounts of people who have been a member of MEK before talking about the horrible situation in the organization and relations which is in Camp Ashraf and the relation between the members and how the human conditions of the Camp and the situation they live in because of the setup from the MEK. Can you elaborate on living condition in Camp Ashraf a little and tell us if all these stories are true or there’s no truth into them?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: Well, I am familiar, as you are, with all sorts of stories about life in Camp Ashraf. I can’t confirm or deny any of them. We just don’t know, but I’m familiar with them. Our purpose is humanitarian, however. Our purpose is neither to advance the interests of the organization – hardly – nor is it to fight the organization. Our interest is in saving the lives of the people that are there as individuals and helping them find – helping them get out of Ashraf safely to Camp Hurriya, and then out of Camp Hurriya to a life outside of Iraq. That is our purpose; it is humanitarian.

QUESTION: And The Washington Post report yesterday about the meeting between MEK advocates with senior Administration officials, can anyone elaborate on this and tell us if this is true and where and with whom the meetings has taken place and what is the nature of them?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: Well, I can certainly confirm that we have responded to inquiries and communicated with all kinds of private parties, including former U.S. Government officials, members of the European parliaments, and other advocates. We have made clear in all of these communications that the only viable option to resolving the issue of Camp Ashraf is a peaceful solution. We have offered our perspective on what is necessary for that to be achieved, and we offer that perspective knowing full well that these persons had a preexisting dialogue with the MEK, and we believe that they have conveyed our views to their MEK interlocutors. Now, they’re not representing the U.S. Government as they do so, but we believe they have passed these messages back. So I’m certainly not going to deny the fact of these contacts. I’m not going to get into the details either.

OPERATOR: Our next question will come from Jill Dougherty from CNN. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. I just wanted to find out, legally, what can the Iraqi Government do if that date of July 20th comes? Can they physically remove the people? What legally are they entitled to do?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: Well – this is Dan Fried. I’m not a lawyer at all, much less an expert on Iraqi law. As I understand it, the Iraqi Government views them as in Iraq illegally. That’s their official position. They do not regard the invitation extended by Saddam Hussein to the MEK as valid, especially given the history of the MEK in Iraq. That said, the Iraqi Government has confirmed repeatedly and publicly that it also seeks a peaceful, humane solution to this problem. They have confirmed that bilaterally to us. We welcome this confirmation, and we intend to work with the Iraqi Government so that only a peaceful solution is followed.

QUESTION: So then I’m presuming that that is the – if you are giving any advice to the government or advising them in any way, that that is what you’re saying, it has to be peaceful?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: Absolutely right. That has been our message front and center. We have worked with the Iraqi Government. Given Iraqi conditions, I’m more impressed by the progress that has been made than concerned by the problems that remain. This is Iraq. Things often do not go well in Iraq. Given that spectrum, we’re doing all right so far, but the situation remains precarious, and it is up to everyone to work to see that Camp Ashraf is emptied soon and peacefully.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Our question will come from Jonathan Broder, Congressional Quarterly. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Yes, I’d just like to ask: Why is this Administration so concerned about humanitarian issues involving a terrorist group?

AMBASSADOR BENJAMIN: We’re interested in humanitarian issues full-stop. And I think it’s important to underscore that many of the people in this camp are not likely to have participated directly in terrorist attacks, although we don’t know on a case-by-case basis. And in any case, we would seek to protect any such group that was essentially holed up in a camp if they were threatened with violence. So this is in keeping with our values.

I should also underscore that we also are interested in whether or not any particular group is involved in terrorist activities, whether it’s directly aimed at us or at others. This is – these are the lights we steer by. So I don’t see any problem with that.

I would like to go back to the issue that was asked before regarding lobbying, and I do just want to underscore that when it comes to the designation itself, we have not met with any lobbyists or others. There was, in fact, one gentleman who came into my office under false pretenses from a foreign country to lobby for the MEK, and he was promptly thrown out. But other than that, I’ve had no conversations on this issue. And again, to underscore, we’re just looking at the merits of the particular case.

MR. VENTRELL: Operator, we’ve got time for just one more question.

OPERATOR: Our next question will come from Christina Wilkie from Huffington Post. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Could you please give us a better sense of the types of demands that the MEK is making of the Iraqi Government and the stipulations the Iraqi Government is placing? Are they – are the MEK’s demands generally realistic? Is it your position that they’re actually intended – that they – that they’re realistic to get, or are they – do you think this is being set up so that there’s an inevitable conflict?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: That’s a very good question, and I’ve asked myself that as well. Some of the MEK demands are reasonable. For example, given the hot weather in Iraq, they’ve requested more air conditioners. The Iraqi Government has agreed to provide them, that is agreed to allow a special shipment of air conditioners from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty, and this is being arranged as we speak. Some of the other demands strike me as not central – for instance, private cars. Well, that’s not an issue critical to basic humanitarian needs.

You’ve asked a question about the MEK’s intentions. I can’t answer that with full knowledge. They, of course, say that all they want are their basic humanitarian needs to be met. But it has been frustrating to deal with constantly shifting demands, many demands. We find that U.S. Embassy and State Department and the UN will work to resolve problems and, a la whack-a-mole, you find that new ones – you’re constantly presented with new ones. But hopefully, the next couple of weeks – in fact, it’s critical that the next couple of weeks will be a period in which some of these issues are resolved, enough so the MEK will allow convoys to resume. That’s absolutely critical.

MR. VENTRELL: Okay. Thank you all for joining today’s call. Any other last remarks from either of the ambassadors?

AMBASSADOR BENJAMIN: Yes. Again – Daniel Benjamin here – I really just wanted to emphasize again one point that I made at the outset. The Secretary of State can – is within her rights in either listing – re-listing or de-listing. And that really is the bottom line here, and no one should be unclear about that in any way. And that’s really all I have to say.

MR. VENTRELL: All right. Thank you all. Have a good afternoon.

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=12734

Kobler: Iraq the only negotiator part with UN.

Transfer process from Ashraf to Liberty should complete in the coming weeks

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… He added: “It is important to complete the transfer process in the coming weeks, so we rely on the constructive spirit of all parties,” reminding the Iraqi government” its responsibility for the safety and security of the residents and not to resort to non-peaceful means”. He continued “The Iraqi government is the only negotiator part with the UN mission about the residents of Camp Ashraf, Camp Liberty, according to the memorandum of understanding, we will continue to emphasize the respect of the principle of non-Forced relocation and that will not deport any of the people involuntarily to his homeland” …

National Iraqi News Agency (NINA), Baghdad, June 23 2012
http://www.ninanews.com/English/News_Details.asp?ar95_VQ=FMDMKI

Kobler urges Iraq to cooperate to complete the transfer of the remainder residents of Ashraf camp / Liberty /.

BAGHDAD / Nina / the Special Representative of the United Nations in Iraq, Martin Kobler urged Iraqi government to cooperate to complete the transfer of the remaining residents of Camp Ashraf to Freedom Camp / Liberty /.

The United Nations mission in Iraq / UNAMI / quoted Kobler as saying in a press release today: “almost six months passed since the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the United Nations mission to help Iraq and the Iraqi government to move the residents of Camp Ashraf to camp freedom peacefully, almost 2,000 residents transported in a peaceful and orderly to the camp of freedom and the remaining residents are 1200 residents only.”

He added: “It is important to complete the transfer process in the coming weeks, so we rely on the constructive spirit of all parties,” reminding the Iraqi government” its responsibility for the safety and security of the residents and not to resort to non-peaceful means”.

He continued “The Iraqi government is the only negotiator part with the UN mission about the residents of Camp Ashraf, Camp Liberty, according to the memorandum of understanding, we will continue to emphasize the respect of the principle of non-Forced relocation and that will not deport any of the people involuntarily to his homeland”.

He noted that “it is necessary for the international community to accelerate its efforts to resettle the population outside Iraq urgently,” stressing that “the United Nations will remain a partner in the process of peaceful and voluntary transfer and this is not negotiable.” / End

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=12681

State Department urges immediate full cooperation of Mojahedin Khalq with the Iraqi Govenment and U.N.

(aka; MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult)

.

… The United States remains concerned about the situation at Camp Ashraf and urges the residents of Camp Ashraf to resume full cooperation immediately with the Iraqi Government and United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The United States also urges the Iraqi Government to intensify its efforts to fulfill its commitments to provide for the safety, security, and humanitarian treatment of the residents. With almost 2,000 former Camp Ashraf residents now relocated to Camp Hurriya, the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf is achievable, but requires continued patience and practical …

U.S. State Department, June 18 2012
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/06/193079.htm

Concern about Camp Ashraf

Press Statement

Victoria Nuland

Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

June 18, 2012

The United States remains concerned about the situation at Camp Ashraf and urges the residents of Camp Ashraf to resume full cooperation immediately with the Iraqi Government and United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). The United States also urges the Iraqi Government to intensify its efforts to fulfill its commitments to provide for the safety, security, and humanitarian treatment of the residents.

With almost 2,000 former Camp Ashraf residents now relocated to Camp Hurriya, the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf is achievable, but requires continued patience and practical engagement to be realized. Constructive offers must be met with a constructive spirit, and not with refusals or preconditions to engage in dialogue. Recent publicly-declared conditions for cooperation, including calls for the Department to inspect Camp Ashraf as a precondition for further relocations to Camp Hurriya, are an unnecessary distraction.

The United States has made clear that cooperation in the closure of Camp Ashraf, the Mujahedin-e Khalq’s (MEK’s) main paramilitary base, is a key factor in determining whether the organization remains invested in its violent past or is committed to leaving that past behind. We fully support the path laid out by the United Nations for the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf along with sustainable solutions for its former residents. The Camp residents and their leadership – both in Iraq and in Paris – should recognize this path as a safe and humane resolution to this situation. Only a peaceful implementation of the Iraqi government’s decision to close the Camp is acceptable, and the Iraqi government bears the responsibility for the security and humane treatment of the individuals at Camp Ashraf.

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/index.php?mod=view&id=12616

UN envoy concerned about delay in relocating Iranian exiles living in Iraqi camp

(Camp Ashraf, Camp Liberty, Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, NCRI)

.

The United Nations top envoy in Iraq today voiced his concern about the delay in the relocation of the residents of Camp New Iraq – formerly known as Camp Ashraf – to a new location, Camp Hurriya, prior to resettlement in third countries. “I urge the remaining residents of Camp Ashraf to relocate to Camp Hurriya without delay,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Martin Kobler, said. “The relocation process should not be stalled. I am concerned that there will be violence if the relocation doesn’t recommence. Any violence would be unacceptable.” …

UN News Centre, June 12 2012
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=42192&Cr=Iraq&Cr1

Special Representative Martin Kobler. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz
Special Representative Martin Kobler. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

The United Nations top envoy in Iraq today voiced his concern about the delay in the relocation of the residents of Camp New Iraq – formerly known as Camp Ashraf – to a new location, Camp Hurriya, prior to resettlement in third countries.

“I urge the remaining residents of Camp Ashraf to relocate to Camp Hurriya without delay,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Martin Kobler, said. “The relocation process should not be stalled. I am concerned that there will be violence if the relocation doesn’t recommence. Any violence would be unacceptable.”

“I call on the Government of Iraq to avoid any forceful relocation. Each relocation must be voluntary. The United Nations supports only a peaceful, humanitarian solution and stands ready to facilitate,” he added in an UNAMI statement.

The Mission added that the relocation to Camp Hurriya has been stalled since the arrival of a fifth group of residents on 5 May.

Camp New Iraq – made up of several thousand Iranian exiles, many of them members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran – has been one of the main issues dealt with by UNAMI for more than 18 months.

In line with a memorandum of understanding signed in December 2011 by the UN and the Iraqi Government to resolve the situation, some two-thirds of the residents, or 2,000 people, were re-located to a temporary transit location near Baghdad known as Camp Hurriya – and formerly known as Camp Liberty – where a process to determine refugee status is being carried out by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

UNAMI added that the relocation process has come a long way since February 2012. Two thirds of the residents have already moved to Camp Hurriya, prior to resettlement abroad. Among them are hundreds of people with special needs, suffering from disabilities and serious medical conditions.

“I also urgently call on States to include residents who are eligible for refugee status in their resettlement quotas and to offer them a path to a more hopeful future outside Iraq,” Mr. Kobler said.

UNAMI staff monitor the human rights and humanitarian situation during the relocation process and provide round-the-clock human rights monitoring at Camp Hurriya.

Under the memorandum of understanding from last December, the Government of Iraq is responsible for the safety and security of the residents during their relocation and for the duration of their stay at the camp.

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=11728

UN welcomes start of relocation of Iranian exiles to new camp in Iraq

.

Today’s relocation is in line with the memorandum of understanding signed in December by the UN and the Iraqi Government to resolve the situation facing the residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf), who are members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran. Martin Kobler, the head of UNAMI and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, commended the 400 or so residents for their decision to move to Camp Hurriya. “This is the first step towards a better future outside Iraq,” he said. “I look forward to their continued cooperation with the Iraqi authorities to complete the relocation without delay.” …

UN News Centre, February 18 2012
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=41294&Cr=Iraq&Cr1=

.

Special Representative Martin Kobler. UN Photo/Bikem Ekberzade

The United Nations has welcomed today’s safe relocation of about 400 residents of the Iraqi settlement formerly known as Camp Ashraf to a new transit centre elsewhere in the country, calling it “the first step towards a better future” for the residents, who are Iranian exiles.

 

The 400 people who voluntarily relocated today – the first to do so – now reside in Camp Hurriya, a temporary transit location, according to a press release issued by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in Baghdad.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will immediately start the process of verification and refugee status determinations, a key step in preparing the submissions of eligible candidates for resettlement in third countries.

Today’s relocation is in line with the memorandum of understanding signed in December by the UN and the Iraqi Government to resolve the situation facing the residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf), who are members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran.

Martin Kobler, the head of UNAMI and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, commended the 400 or so residents for their decision to move to Camp Hurriya.

“This is the first step towards a better future outside Iraq,” he said. “I look forward to their continued cooperation with the Iraqi authorities to complete the relocation without delay.”

Mr. Kobler also commended Iraqi authorities “for having ensured a safe and secure relocation of the first group of residents. I urge them to pursue the relocation of the remaining residents in a manner that continues to guarantee the human rights, safety and welfare of all residents.”

He urged other Member States to confirm that they are ready and willing to accept eligible candidates from Camp Hurriya who want to resettle in third countries.

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/index.php?mod=view&id=11685

A U.N. Call to Aid Iraq’s Iranian Refugees

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… The plan now agreed to by the Iraqi government should be given a chance to work. As a first step, it calls for the camp residents to voluntarily relocate to a transit site at the Baghdad airport. In contrast to Camp Ashraf, this site would be monitored around the clock by observers from the United Nations. There, the residents would be interviewed by the U.N. refugee agency, the UNHCR, to determine their eligibility for refugee status, paving the way for their resettlement outside of Iraq. Most have filed refugee claims. A small number have returned to Iran in recent years, but many others will want to go elsewhere …

MARTIN KOBLER, New York Times, February 15 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/opinion/a-un-call-to-aid-iraqs-iranian-refugees.html

After decades of dictatorship followed by invasion and conflict, Iraqis began this year with a chance to build a peaceful future. If not managed carefully, however, a lingering issue from the past could stain this moment of opportunity with tragedy.

I am referring to the situation of Camp Ashraf, where a tense standoff has persisted between the government of Iraq and an Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), which for the last 25 years has occupied a self-enclosed camp only a few hours drive from Baghdad.

The government has made it clear that it wants Camp Ashraf shut down and MEK — which once fought alongside Saddam Hussein and is designated by the United States and some other governments as a terrorist organization — to leave Iraq. Baghdad sees its presence, in a place which is off-limits to the government, as an affront to national sovereignty.

At the same time, there are very real concerns about what closing this camp would mean for the human rights, safety and welfare of the approximately 3,400 residents of Camp Ashraf. The United Nations strongly shares these concerns, which have been underscored vocally by the group’s supporters internationally, among them a number of U.S. and European officials and former officials.

There should be no confusion about the stance of the United Nations. We support only a peaceful, humanitarian solution for Camp Ashraf. We have been working hard to facilitate such an outcome — one that both respects Iraq’s sovereignty and provides the people of Camp Ashraf with a safe and voluntary path to a more hopeful life outside of Iraq.

When the Iraqi government announced late last year that it would be closing the camp by Dec. 31, the U.N. secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, spoke with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to ask for more time for negotiation. Many feared a repeat of the violence of April 2011, when dozens of Ashraf residents were killed in clashes with Iraqi security forces at the camp.

The United Nations welcomed Mr. Maliki’s decision to extend the deadline until April. We have carried out an exhaustive and impartial diplomatic effort since then, with the support of the United States and the European Union, to encourage a peaceful solution. We have gone the extra mile to consult with Camp Ashraf residents and their leadership in order to address their concerns.

The plan now agreed to by the Iraqi government should be given a chance to work.

As a first step, it calls for the camp residents to voluntarily relocate to a transit site at the Baghdad airport. In contrast to Camp Ashraf, this site would be monitored around the clock by observers from the United Nations. There, the residents would be interviewed by the U.N. refugee agency, the UNHCR, to determine their eligibility for refugee status, paving the way for their resettlement outside of Iraq. Most have filed refugee claims. A small number have returned to Iran in recent years, but many others will want to go elsewhere.

Under the same agreement, the government of Iraq has made two key commitments that it must uphold. First, it has accepted full responsibility for the safety and security of the residents, from the relocation process throughout their stay at the new facility. Secondly, it has promised that nobody would be forced to go to Iran or elsewhere against their wishes.

The new site is a former U.S. Marine base that can hold more than 5,000 people. It has been equipped at considerable expense to receive the residents of Camp Ashraf. It has cooking and medical facilities, space for recreational activities and provisions for women and religious observance. UNHCR has carried out a careful technical assessment and determined that the new camp meets the humanitarian standards it applies for refugee situations around the world.

The process has arrived at a moment of truth.

After agreeing in principle to move an initial group of 400 residents, Camp Ashraf’s leaders have hesitated in recent days to begin the move, placing new conditions that the Iraqi government rejects. The government’s patience is wearing thin, and further delay could lead to provocation and violence.

I am concerned that the perfect is becoming the enemy of the good. Change is understandably unsettling for the residents, but maintaining the status quo is neither a safe nor viable option.

The relocation of the camp residents is of course only a bridge to a longer-term solution — their resettlement outside Iraq. Without this, the horizon is unclear.

We are calling on the international community — particularly the United States and Europe, which have long traditions of accepting refugees — to confirm publicly their readiness to accept eligible residents. Supporters in the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament could do their part by backing the relocation plan and taking the necessary steps to find a home for the residents.

Equally importantly, we are reminding the government of Iraq of its commitments. Impatience should not lead to miscalculation. Any violent solution would be totally unacceptable.

Time is running out, and lives are at stake. All concerned parties — camp residents, the Iraqi government and the international community — must do their part to ensure that the peaceful path is the route taken on Camp Ashraf.

Martin Kobler is the special representative of the U.N. secretary general for Iraq.

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=11558

UN certifies that new camp for Iranian exiles meets international standards

(aka; Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK)

.

This brings us a step further in ensuring that proper conditions are in place for voluntary relocation of Camp New Iraq residents.” UN monitors are ready to start round-the-clock human rights monitoring during the transport of residents from Camp New Iraq, as well as on their arrival at Camp Liberty, currently built to accommodate 5,500 people. UNHCR is also ready to start refugee status determination as soon as residents start arriving in the new camp, according to a press release issued by UNAMI. The Iraqi Government will organize the modalities of transporting people from Camp New Iraq to Camp Liberty and …

UN News Centre, February 01 2012
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=41089&Cr=&Cr1

Special Representative Martin Kobler. UN Photo/Bikem Ekberzade
Special Representative Martin Kobler. UN Photo/Bikem Ekberzade

31 January 2012 –

United Nations refugee and human rights officials said today that they have confirmed that the infrastructure and facilities at a new camp in Iraq for residents of the settlement formerly known as Camp Ashraf meet international standards, as stipulated in last month’s agreement on voluntary relocation between the UN and the Iraqi Government.

The UN and the Iraqi Government on 25 December signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the voluntary relocation of several thousand Iranian exiles living in Camp New Iraq, previously known as Camp Ashraf, in the north-eastern part of the country.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the human rights office of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said arrangements for the relocation of Camp New Iraq residents to the new Camp Liberty are progressing after it was confirmed that the facilities and the infrastructure had met international humanitarian standards.

“I am grateful to the UNHCR and the human rights team for their expertise,” said Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq. “This brings us a step further in ensuring that proper conditions are in place for voluntary relocation of Camp New Iraq residents.”

UN monitors are ready to start round-the-clock human rights monitoring during the transport of residents from Camp New Iraq, as well as on their arrival at Camp Liberty, currently built to accommodate 5,500 people. UNHCR is also ready to start refugee status determination as soon as residents start arriving in the new camp, according to a press release issued by UNAMI.

The Iraqi Government will organize the modalities of transporting people from Camp New Iraq to Camp Liberty and other relevant issues with the residents. The UN stands ready to facilitate those efforts if requested, Mr. Kobler said.

“It is important that [the] MoU is implemented in letter and spirit,” he added, noting that the agreement “stands only for a peaceful solution and a voluntary relocation of Camp New Iraq residents.”

“The United Nations’ consistent position is that a violent outcome is unacceptable. The MoU paves the way for UNHCR to conduct the verification and refugee status determination (RSD) processes, which is a necessary first step to resettle the residents in other countries and enjoy their freedom and liberty,” he said.

“Member States have a crucial role in helping to resolve the situation of Camp New Iraq residents and I do urge them again to accept residents in their countries. This is a critical contribution to the humanitarian solution we are all seeking,” Mr. Kobler added.

Situated in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala, Camp New Iraq camp houses several thousand members of a group known as the People’s Mojahedeen of Iran.

.

UN calls on Iraq to prepare to move Iran exiles

AFP, February 01 2012

BAGHDAD — The UN called on Iraq on Tuesday to organise the transport of Iranian dissidents to a new location within the country, citing progress towards the implementation of a December deal on the exiles.

Under the December 25 agreement, around 3,400 Iranians hostile to the regime in Tehran will be moved from Camp Ashraf to a new location called Camp Liberty, as part of a process that aims to see them resettled outside Iraq.

“It is now time for the Government of Iraq to organise the modalities of the transport from (Camp Ashraf) to Camp Liberty and other relevant issues with the residents,” the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in the statement, as “further steps have been achieved” toward the deal’s implementation.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UNAMI Human Rights Office “confirmed that the infrastructure and facilities at Camp Liberty are in accordance with the international humanitarian standards” as required by the deal, it said.

“Additionally, UN monitors are ready to start round-the-clock human rights monitoring during the transport of residents from (Camp Ashraf) as well as upon their arrival at Camp Liberty,” it said.

“UNHCR is also ready to commence the refugee status determination as soon as residents start arriving to the camp” — a necessary step before they can be resettled in other countries.

Now executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein allowed the rebel People’s Mujahedeen to set up Camp Ashraf during his regime’s 1980-88 war with Iran.

When Saddam was overthrown in the US-led invasion of 2003, the camp came under US military protection, but American forces handed over security responsibilities for the site to the Baghdad authorities in January 2009.

The camp has been back in the spotlight since a controversial April raid by Iraqi security forces left at least 34 people dead and scores injured

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=11615

Ambassador Fried It is time for the Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) to move out of Camp Ashraf

Briefing on Recent Developments at Camp Ashraf

.

… Once at Camp Hurriya, some people may decide to return to Iran, but on a voluntary basis only. Several hundred already have in the past. Others may have citizenship or valid residency status in third countries and should be able to return to their homes promptly. Still others may qualify for refugee status under UNHCR’s mandate. The residents who relocate to Camp Hurriya will need to be considered individually. To make our own determination about any specific individual, the United States needs to know more about them, and such information can be obtained only after they move to Hurriya and participate in the UNHCR’s status determination process …

State Department, February 08 2012
http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/rm/183499.htm

Special Briefing
Ambassador Daniel Fried
Via Teleconference
Washington, DC
February 7, 2012

———————————

MR. TONER: Thank you, and thanks to everyone for joining us on such relatively short notice. Appreciate it. Very happy to have here with us this morning Ambassador Dan Fried, who, as you know, has taken on the additional responsibility of being our special advisor on Camp Ashraf. And he’s here today to update us on the status of the situation at Camp Ashraf as well as some details regarding the UN’s January 31st announcement that the facilities at former Camp Liberty now meet international humanitarian standards and are ready to receive the residents of Camp Ashraf.

Just a reminder before I hand the mike to Dan, this is an on-the-record call and Dan will say a few words, and then we’ll open it up to your questions. So without further ado, Ambassador Fried.

AMBASSADOR FRIED: Thanks, everyone, for joining. The U.S. has – welcomed – the U.S. has and continues to welcome and support the peaceful temporary relocation and eventual permanent resettlement of the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq. This was the heart of Secretary Clinton’s statement on December 25th last year. Our purpose is humanitarian. We welcomed the signing of the MOU last Christmas Day between the Iraqi Government and the UN. This MOU charts a peaceful way forward.

Since the signing of that MOU, the Iraqi Government has worked to prepare a portion of former Camp Liberty, now called Camp Hurriya, to receive the first residents on a temporary basis, working in regular and close touch with the UN and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. That work has made enough progress that the UN last week confirmed that the facilities and infrastructure at Hurriya are in accordance with international humanitarian standards.

The UN recommended that the Government of Iraq and the Ashraf residents discuss details of the first move to Hurriya. Yesterday, an Iraqi representative met with the leadership of Camp Ashraf to discuss these details. The UN was present as facilitator. These discussions, according to all of our information, were businesslike and productive.

The United States welcomes this progress, and we look forward to the first residents moving from Camp Ashraf to Camp Hurriya in the immediate future. In any move of this kind and in the early days, once people are settling into Hurriya, problems may arise, of course. Patience, goodwill, and willingness to resolve logistical issues in a practical way will be critical. The United States, through its Embassy in Baghdad and my office, will continue to support the reasonable, prompt resolution of issues that arise, cooperating with the UN and the Iraqi Government and in contact with the residents at former Camp Ashraf and, of course, Hurriya.

The residents of Camp Ashraf must make the decision to start this relocation process. Camp Ashraf is no longer a viable home for them. They have no secure future there. On the other hand, the Government of Iraq has committed itself to the security of the people at Camp Hurriya and is aware that the United States expects it to fulfill its responsibilities.

The UN has committed itself to stationing monitors at Camp Hurriya on a round-the-clock basis. In addition, as Secretary Clinton made clear in her statement, the U.S. will visit Hurriya on a regular and frequent basis. Camp Hurriya is intended as a temporary transit facility to support the safe departure of former Camp Ashraf residents from Iraq. In this regard, while the UN and the UNHCR are doing and will continue to do their part, governments in Europe and beyond and the United States must do our part as this process unfolds.

Once at Camp Hurriya, some people may decide to return to Iran, but on a voluntary basis only. Several hundred already have in the past. Others may have citizenship or valid residency status in third countries and should be able to return to their homes promptly. Still others may qualify for refugee status under UNHCR’s mandate. The residents who relocate to Camp Hurriya will need to be considered individually. To make our own determination about any specific individual, the United States needs to know more about them, and such information can be obtained only after they move to Hurriya and participate in the UNHCR’s status determination process.

In short, it is time for the MEK to make the decision to start the move out of Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty-Hurriya from where they can begin new lives outside of Iraq. A peaceful solution, no matter what the circumstances, is the only acceptable solution, but it is time to move forward.

Now, with that, I’ll take your questions. And – oh, I should add that the UN head of mission in Iraq Martin Kobler and I were in Europe late last week discussing all of these issues with the European Union, with European parliamentarians, and I met separately with the French Government to discuss the way ahead. So this is an issue very much in motion.

So I’ll now take your questions.

MR. TONER: Great. Thanks, Dan. And, Operator, you can go ahead and tee up the first question.

OPERATOR: Yes, thank you. If you would like to ask a question, press *1. To withdraw your request, press *2. One moment for the first question.

The first question comes from Matthew Lee of AP. Your line is open.

QUESTION: Hey, Dan. Can I ask you what is prompting you to make this call today to tell the MEK that it’s now time? Has there been some new development where they’ve indicated they’re stalling again?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: I wouldn’t say that there’s a new development indicating stalling, but the reason I’m emphasizing this is because yesterday’s – last week’s determination by the UN that Camp Liberty was ready and yesterday’s practical discussions of the way ahead means that the time is now for the MEK to make its decision. It’s got to move forward. And it’s – all those who wish the residents of Ashraf a peaceful future outside of Iraq can help by encouraging the MEK to make the decision it needs to make.

QUESTION: Okay. But I thought – didn’t a limited number already move?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: No.

QUESTION: Or was that just an offer, that they said that some would —

AMBASSADOR FRIED: That was an offer.

QUESTION: It was an offer.

AMBASSADOR FRIED: No one has moved from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty because Camp Liberty was not yet ready to receive.

QUESTION: Oh, okay.

AMBASSADOR FRIED: So this was not a case of stalling. It was a case of the Iraqis having to get Camp Liberty up to speed. It now is. And that movement needs to start taking place.

QUESTION: All right. And who determined that it was okay, that it was habitable now? The U.S.?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: The UN. Not —

QUESTION: Not the envoy?

AMBASSADOR FRIED: Now, the U.S. has looked at it also, but the determination was made by technical experts from the UNHCR. The UN issued a statement last week, which is readily available, making clear that the infrastructure and facilities are now up to speed.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

AMBASSADOR FRIED: Sure.

MR. TONER: Next question.

OPERATOR: And I show no further questions at this time.

MR. TONER: All right. We’ll give it a couple of seconds, but – for you to weigh in if you’ve got any additional questions.

AMBASSADOR FRIED: Well, I’ll take that as a sign that my presentation was comprehensive and answered all possible questions.

MR. TONER: Very good. Operator, last chance for our contestants.

OPERATOR: We have a question from Ian Duncan*. Go ahead.

MR. TONER: Right.

QUESTION: Hi, there. I’m calling from the LA Times. I just wondered to what extent the FTO designation hinders the U.S. role in the process and if there are any plans to change that designation.

AMBASSADOR FRIED: My office is not part of the FTO designation process. Obviously, I’m aware that that is a decision which the Secretary will make. We are – our interest in a humanitarian solution for the people at Camp Ashraf is quite independent of that decision. And we are able to move forward even now without that decision having been made.

QUESTION: Okay. Thanks very much.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Next question comes from Andrew Quinn with Reuters. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. I have a couple of quick questions. One was: I was wondering if there has been any agreement on the process of moving people. I understand that there was some dispute over whether or not they’d be able to take their own vehicles, how they would get from Ashraf to Liberty. Do you know if that has actually been resolved and how they would get from A to B?

And the second question is: Earlier – last month, actually – and Mrs. Rajavi gave a speech in Paris where she said that the United States would hold full responsibility for all Ashraf members – for the safety of Ashraf members while they’re in Iraq. Is that a responsibility that the United States is now willing to accept, given the status of Camp Liberty? Thank you.

AMBASSADOR FRIED: First, the issue of the organization of the convoys was, I understand, discussed yesterday in some detail between the Iraqi Government representative and the Camp Ashraf leadership. I also understand that some good progress was made. And that – we welcome that. We welcome that.

With respect to the U.S. responsibility, Iraq is a sovereign country. Iraq has the responsibility for the exercise of that sovereignty, and they know that a peaceful solution is the only acceptable one. The U.S. is not the sovereign in Iraq. We are doing our best, and we are committed to trying to support a peaceful relocation of the people at Ashraf over to Camp – old Camp Liberty, and then support the UNHR efforts to get them out of Camp Liberty and out of Iraq. We’re going to try our best.

The responsibility for the next decision rests with the MEK. They need – the Iraqi Government has done, so far, what it committed to do; that is, it’s got Camp Liberty up to speed. The MEK and the residents of Ashraf, for their part, held a constructive set of discussions yesterday, and we welcome that. And now the decision has to be theirs to start this process and to work with all of us so that the shared objective, shared by all the sides in this – the UN, the Iraqi Government, the people at Camp Ashraf – for a peaceful solution. And the departure of these people from Iraq is up to them. A peaceful solution is at hand, but they’ve got to take it.

MR. TONER: Great. Any more questions?

OPERATOR: There are no further questions at this time.

MR. TONER: Okay. Well, we’ll take that for a sign that you’re all fully briefed on this. Anyway, thank you very much, all of you, for joining us today. And thanks to Ambassador Fried for also taking time.

AMBASSADOR FRIED: All right. Well, thanks a lot, everybody. And I’ll keep – I’ll – we can do this again when the news justifies it.

MR. TONER: Great. Thanks, all.


Daniel Zucker, Maryam Rajavi and ALi Safavi


(Rajavi from Saddam to AIPAC)

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Also
https://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=11577

 

Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf) residents and the determination of their refugee status claims*

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… UNHCR has been for some time and remains ready to undertake verification andrefugee status adjudication for the residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf) who are persons of concern. It has mobilized teams on the ground, and has put in place the necessary soft and hard ware support capabilities. Individual interviews will need to take place in a safe, neutral and confidential location. UNHCR attaches utmost importance to peaceful solutions being found, including that any relocation outside Camp New Iraq proceed on a voluntary basis, with freedom of movement the most desirable state at the site of relocation …

UNHCR, February 01 2012
http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/
opendocPDFViewer.html?docid=4f2a54a16&query=Camp
Ashraf

• UNHCR has been for some time and remains ready to undertake verification andrefugee status adjudication for the residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf) who are persons of concern. It has mobilized teams on the ground, and has put in place the necessary soft and hard ware support capabilities. Individual interviews will need to take place in a safe, neutral and confidential location.

• The stipulation of the Government of Iraq remains that these processes take place outside Camp New Iraq, in the new location which is being provisioned to enable the residents voluntarily to move there and to stay on a temporary basis in safe and decent conditions. UNHCR has been advising on the technicalities of improving the camp infrastructure.

• UNHCR attaches utmost importance to peaceful solutions being found, including that any relocation outside Camp New Iraq proceed on a voluntary basis, with freedom of movement the most desirable state at the site of relocation.

• UNHCR is currently looking at how to expedite verification and RSD processing so as to enable it to be done on an individual basis fairly, fully but also speedily, in the interests of gaining time against tight deadlines.

Background

• Camp residents who have submitted requests for refugee status are formally asylum seekers under international law whose claims require adjudication. In the absence of a national system of adjudication in Iraq, UNHCR will consider these requests on an individual basis in a fair and efficient procedure. Each individual case will be judged on its merits and in accordance with international law.

• International law requires that asylum-seekers must be able to benefit from basic protection of their security and well-being. This includes protection against any expulsion or return to the frontiers of territories where their lives or freedom would be

threatened (the non-refoulement principle).

• UNHCR, together with the Government of Iraq, UNAMI and other concerned actors, remains committed to finding solutions to this long-standing problem, including resettlement and/or relocation to third countries.

UNHCR
1 February 2012

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* This document will be updated as needed.

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