Acting Deputy Spokesperson
August 1, 2012
The United States is concerned by the Government of Iraq’s reference on July 31 to the possible closure of Camp Ashraf by involuntary relocation of its residents. We urge the Government of Iraq 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. This requires that continued dialogue be pursued in place of forcible measures and that all sides act in accordance with the December 25, 2011 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Iraqi Government and the United Nations.
We also call on the 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. Allegations of dire humanitarian conditions at Hurriya are inconsistent with observations made by U.S. Government officials who have visited Hurriya, 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 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 urges 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.