Address by H.E. Mr. Shen Guofang Assistant Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China At the International Donors Conference on Iraqi Reconstruction
Madrid, 24 October 2003
I think it is most befitting that our conference takes place in Madrid, a city known for its vigour and vitality. My delegation hopes that the conference will inject hopes and vitality into Iraqi reconstruction and demonstrate to the Iraqi people a promising prospect of their homeland rebuilding so that Iraq will be able to turn a new chapter in its annals of history.
China and Iraq enjoy a time-honoured traditional friendship. We in China have been closely following the developments in Iraq. We do hope that stability and development will soon become the order of the day in Iraq and the country will return to the embrace of the international community.
China has provided the Iraqi people with humanitarian assistance of various forms. At this important juncture of Iraqi reconstruction, I would like to make an announcement: The Chinese Government will commit a further gratuitous aid of RMB 200 million yuan (an equivalent of 25 million US dollars) to help the country alleviate its humanitarian situation and rebuild its economy.
I would also reiterate here that many Chinese companies used to build roads, bridges, water conservancy projects and electric facilities in Iraq and they enjoy rich experience and technological advantages. The Chinese Government will adopt all necessary measures to support these companies in their participation in Iraqi reconstruction.
The security situation in Iraq now allows no optimism. Its economic reconstruction, which started very slowly, remains an uphill battle. The political process, though launched, still falls short of the expectations of the Iraqi people and the international community.
China believes that the reconstruction of Iraq should focus on the long-term interests of the Iraqi people, the law and order as well as the sustainable development of Iraq and the lasting peace and stability of the Middle East and the Gulf region. We are glad that the UN Security Council has adopted Resolution 1511, which illustrated such important principles as transferring power to the Iraqi people, formulating a time table and increasing transparency in reconstruction, and strengthened the role of the United Nations in the process of reconstruction. It is our hope that the parties concerned will comply with the resolution both in letter and in spirit and fully implement this resolution, so as to help Iraq achieve an earliest possible improvement of its security situation and realize "Running Iraq by Iraqis" and embark on the track of economic and social development at an early date.
In this context, I wish to make four observations:
1. Peace and stability are essential for the Iraqi people. The No. 1 priority now is to restore stability, law and order in Iraq. We take note of the progress in the training of the Iraqi police and national defence forces. We hope that parties concerned will adopt effective measures to improve the Iraqi security situation so as to pave the way for the country's reconstruction.
2. Assistance and reconstruction are fundamental to Iraq's development and progress. Not long ago the UN and the World Bank issued the Joint Iraq Needs Assessment which offers a sound basis for Iraqi reconstruction. The Chinese side is now carefully studying this report. As a permanent member of the UN and an important member of the World Bank, China will continue to support the UN, the World Bank and other international organizations in their involvement in the post-war Iraqi reconstruction in line with Resolution 1511 and other relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
In accordance with the Needs Assessment of the UN and the World Bank, the Iraqi reconstruction will need 36 billion US dollars, plus another 19 billion US dollars in such fields as security and oil sectors. It is indeed a substantial amount. This calls for a framework which enables all parties concerned to take an active part in reconstruction, and a comprehensive reconstruction strategy and a concrete development plan in compliance with the actual situation in Iraq. Transparency and fairness should also be maintained in setting up and using the Multi Donor Trust Fund.
3. The United Nations is the important platform for an ultimate and proper settlement of the Iraqi question. The call for a multilateral approach and a stronger role of the UN is the key note that echoes in the ongoing 58th session of the UN General Assembly and represents the universal desire of the international community. The UN and other international agencies should give full play to their advantages in human resources and expertise and fully participate in all stages and fields in Iraqi reconstruction. China firmly supports the efforts of the UN, particularly Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his special representative as well as the assistance mission of the UN in Iraq. In this aspect, we should make further efforts in line with Resolution 1511 of the UN Security Council.
4. Human resources are a decisive factor for a successful reconstruction of Iraq. Iraq boasts abundant natural resources and many well-educated talents. The future of Iraq, after all, lies in the hands of the Iraqi people. We must respect their wills and demands in the process of reconstruction. We must let the Iraqi people choose on their own the development path and model. We must let the Iraqi people participate in the reconstruction process promptly, fully and proactively and give full scope to their enthusiasm and initiative. In Iraqi reconstruction, focus should be placed on increasing the self-reliant capabilities of Iraq at an early date through foreign assistance, and as a result leading the process onto the track of sound cycle.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.