Humanitarian aid priority for Czech Republic in Iraq

Irák, foto: ČTK

The Czech Republic has joined five other nations at a meeting of Iraqi representatives in Baghdad on Monday to discuss the establishment of a new interim government. The meeting comes on the eve of discussions within the Czech government on the possibilities of delivering humanitarian aid to Iraq.

Basra, photo: CTK
The Czech Republic joined Australia, Britain, Poland, Spain and the United States at a meeting of Iraqi representatives to discuss the establishment of a new interim government in Iraq. The role of the Czech delegation is to inform Iraqi representatives regarding political transitions, more specifically, the transition from a totalitarian regime to a democratic state. The Czech Republic successfully made the transition to democracy from one of the most hard-line totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe after the fall of communism in 1989.

Meanwhile here in the Czech Republic the government is currently discussing the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Humanitarian aid will be focused on three main areas. The first includes the basic reconstruction of land, the education system, and health care. The second will deal with sending a number of experts to the region, and the third area is development programs. The Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Vit Kolar.

"Regarding the first two areas discussions are focused on aid amounting to 20 million crowns. The third area, concerning development programmes, a much higher number is being discussed which is more then 300 million crowns."

Iraq, photo: CTK
The second component of the Czech Republic's humanitarian assistance to Iraq is the sending of 20 experts who will work with the organisation for the reconstruction of Iraq. Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda.

"The people chosen must have high quality skills, a knowledge of languages and of the local issues, with contacts in the private sector with an interest in working with Iraq. It will be their task to map out opportunities for our firms."

Although the reconstruction of Iraq is important to the Czech Republic for economic reasons, Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda highlights the importance of humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq.

"We would like to see, as soon as possible, Iraq become a normal country and give it back into the hands of Iraqis. Regarding business we are interested in the reconstruction of Iraq and we want our firms to get a chance to participate. But what is most important to us are the people of Iraq. First is humanitarian aid."

The major component of the Czech Republic's commitment to the humanitarian effort in Iraq is a field hospital which is being deployed near the city of Basara in Southern Iraq where the humanitarian situation is critical. Although the field hospital is not yet fully functional dozens of Iraqis, often with small children, have already used its services.