S&Ds: Defeating Daesh and protecting civilians in Mosul is the priority

S&Ds: Defeating Daesh and protecting civilians in Mosul is the priority, Bostinaru, Josef Weidenholzer

During today's discussion in the European Parliament on the situation in Mosul (Northern Iraq), Victor Boştinaru, S&D MEP and vice-president for foreign affairs said:

"The fight for Mosul could be a quick territorial win for the Iraqi-led coalition forces. Mosul is more than a symbol, it is a decisive step forward in our efforts to defeat Daesh (the so-called Islamic State or ISIS).

"This being said, this is likely to be a long-lasting operation and our absolute priority is to protect the civilians. We have to ensure that they will not remain trapped  in Mosul under heavy gunfire and bomb attacks, and that they are not used as human shields by Daesh. We have to ensure that the military on all fronts will open humanitarian corridors for the citizens and internally displaced persons that flee the fighting.

"The S&D Group calls on all parties to abide by international humanitarian law, to respect principles of proportionality and distinction, and to take all precautions to minimise casualties and ensure that civilians and civilian infrastructures (such as schools and hospitals) are protected from bombing. The evidence of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Daesh should be preserved in order to ensure the accountability of all perpetrators.

"With the retaking of Mosul, the scourge of Daesh could be largely banished from Iraq. But Daesh is just a symptom of larger problems in the Middle East. Until there is a political accommodation between Shia and Sunni muslims, in Iraq and in the region, and until we achieve peace in Syria, terrorism will remain.

"We would also like to express our full support for a sovereign, independent Iraq and the need for a solid post-Daesh plan. This should involve further humanitarian aid and the re-establishment of the rule of law and basic services such as healthcare, electricity and education, but also guarantees for the safe return and reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons, the protection of vulnerable minorities and the political participation of all ethnic and religious minorities."

S&D MEP and vice-president Josef Weidenholzer said:

"We urgently need concrete measures to protect civilians, including protection zones and humanitarian corridors.

"The recognition of the massacres committed and the prosecution of the perpetrators is crucial.

"We strongly believe that the negotiations on the future of Mosul should involve all religious minorities."