Sweden has begun preparations for UN-Iraq summit
(dpa) - Sweden has begun preparations to host a summit on Iraq at the end of May in collaboration with Baghdad and the United Nations, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Thursday.
At a briefing along with International Development Cooperation Minister Gunilla Carlsson, Bildt said the one-day summit would focus on "international support, reconciliation and state building" in Iraq.
A year ago the International Compact for Iraq (ICI) was launched at a summit in Egypt.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were due to attend the conference that was not a donor meeting, Bildt said, adding he had no word yet who would represent the United States.
The invitations were to be sent out from the UN headquarters, but Bildt and Ambassador Krister Kumlin, who would be in charge of organizing the May 29 conference, expected some 80 delegations to attend.
Carlsson said the conference was important against the backdrop of the "UN's increasing role" to coordinate and supervise reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
Bildt reminded of the UN's difficulties in Iraq after the August 2003 bombing that killed among others UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, the then UN Special Representative in Iraq, but noted that the organization had "considerable knowledge" about issues in the country.
The summit was the first follow-up conference since the ICI was launched a year ago at a conference hosted by Egypt, Bildt said, adding it was likely other conferences would be held in future.
The ICI aims at linking peace-building and economic prosperity.