The United States has expressed concern by the Iraqi Government's reference on July 31 to the possible closure of Camp Ashraf by involuntary relocation of its residents.
A statement issued by the US State Department urged the Iraqi Government to remain patient and flexible in seeking a voluntary arrangement for continued relocations, as only a peaceful resolution to the situation at Camp Ashraf is acceptable. It called for continued dialogue in place of forcible measures and that all sides act in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Iraqi Government and the United Nations.
The US Government also called on the Camp Ashraf leadership to immediately resume cooperation with the relocation of residents to Camp Hurriya, especially following the Iraqi Government's delivery of a cargo convoy of goods as demanded by the residents on July 15. It said allegations of dire humanitarian conditions at Hurriya are inconsistent with observations made by U.S. Government officials who visited the camp, as well as reporting from UN monitors. Based on these reports, and other information, it is clear that the quality of life at Hurriya exceeds accepted humanitarian standards. The continued intransigence of the residents' leadership in placing preconditions and making demands prior to any agreement to relocate further Ashraf residents is unacceptable and puts in danger protections established in the MOU, the statement added.
The process established by the MOU has resulted in the safe relocation of nearly 2,000 residents from Camp Ashraf, almost two-thirds of its estimated population. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq's (UNAMI) "Roadmap" provides a peaceful way forward for Ashraf's closure, and the United States urged adherence to this process to finally and peacefully close Camp Ashraf.
"Ashraf's closure will allow UNAMI, the United States, and our partners to focus attention and efforts on a durable solution for the residents' relocation outside of Iraq," the U.S. State Department said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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