Security Council

The situation in Iraq - Security Council, 897…

The situation in Iraq - Security Council, 8974th meeting

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Thirty-third report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of paragraph 4 of Security Council resolution 2107 (2013) (S/2022/100) Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 2576 (2021) (S/2022/103)
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Terrorism Will Not Thwart Progress towards Peace, Stability, Representative Assures, as Delegates Voice Alarm over Spike in Violent Attacks

A stagnant government formation process following Iraq’s largely peaceful elections last October is stalling urgently needed reforms and creating a dangerous political and security vacuum that could be exploited by Da’esh, the top United Nations official in the country told the Security Council today.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) — presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2022/103) on key political developments and the United Nations activities in the country since mid-November — stated that the parliamentary Speaker and his two Deputy Speakers were elected on 9 January, following the ratification of electoral results. However, the next step — the election of a President — is in abeyance because as of 7 February, the necessary parliamentary quorum was not met.

Once the President is elected, she explained, he or she will, within 15 days, charge the nominee of the largest parliamentary bloc, the Prime Minister-designate, with the formation of a council of ministers, to be endorsed by Parliament. “Well clearly, the current situation suggests that we’re not there yet,” she said, stating that “precious time” is passing while the political impasse continues.

Pointing out that the ensuing vacuum is “risky business, with potentially far-reaching consequences undermining Iraq’s stability in the short and long run”, she emphasized the need for meaningful reform to work towards durable solutions to the country’s formidable financial, economic and environmental challenges and to meet the urgent aspirations of its people for employment opportunities, security, public service delivery and justice, adding: “However, Iraq is running out of time.”

Drawing attention to the dire conditions in camps and prisons in north-eastern Syria, where many Iraqis reside, she characterized them as “ticking time bombs”, with the potential to affect the region and far beyond. Keeping people in such restricted and poor conditions creates greater protection and security risks than taking them back in a controlled manner. While the repatriation of 450 families to Iraq is welcome, more must be done to anticipate and mitigate future risks involving fighters and their family members, she underscored.

The Special Representative also briefed the Council on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third country nationals, as well as missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives (document S/2022/100).

In the ensuing discussion, delegates commended the participation of women in the October elections and called for dialogue between parties to resolve the persisting political deadlock. Many speakers voiced alarm at the continuing security threat posed by terrorist groups such as Da’esh and called for international support to be lent to the country while respecting its sovereignty.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates condemned the terrorist attacks perpetrated against the representatives of the Iraqi Government, as well as against Iraqi civilians and infrastructure, particularly the attack perpetrated by Da’esh in January 2022 in Diyala province. He stressed the importance of respect for the sovereignty of all States, which is vital to spare the region from all forms of instability and violence.

In a similar vein, the representative of Mexico, concerned about the spike in violence involving terrorist groups, urged the Iraqi Government and the Kurdish Regional Government to deepen cooperation and promote the implementation of existing agreements, and international partners to provide support in this area. Pointing out that Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations is being abused in the fight against terrorism, he noted that 1.2 million people remain displaced, while deficits affect housing conditions.

Norway’s delegate, underlining the importance of strengthening capacity on human rights compliance during counter-terrorism operations, commended UNAMI for its support to the Iraqi authorities in this regard, highlighting the decrease in violations against children between 2019 and 2021. However, she expressed concern about the sharp rise in the number of children detained on security-related charges, stating that they should be treated primarily as victims, and such detention alternatives as reintegration should be actively sought.

Taking the floor at the end of the meeting, the representative of Iraq informed the Council that the country’s Federal Supreme Court certified the election results held in 2021, and is now determining the eligibility of the candidates elected during the first session of the Chamber of Deputies on 9 February 2022, according to the terms of the Constitution. Turning to the post-election security situation, which was jolted by a number of terrorist attacks, he stated that the country will not let such acts impede progress towards peace and stability. However, he assailed those who use his country’s territory to settle scores in the guise of counter-terrorism operations, pointing to a recent decision by the Turkish Parliament that violated Iraq’s sovereignty.

He went on to outline steps taken by Iraq to repatriate its citizens detained in Al-Hol camp, including as many as 1,900 terrorists, who have been repatriated since May 2021. Expressing concern about recent attacks by Da’esh on Syrian prisons, which led to the escape of the group’s leaders, he urged the international community to step up efforts to address the threat more effectively. On relations between Baghdad and Erbil, he said that both Governments have organized meetings at the highest level to deal with pending issues including the federal budget and coordination between Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga forces in the fight against Da’esh.

Also speaking were the representatives of the United States, Albania, Gabon (also on behalf of Ghana and Kenya), Brazil, Ireland, France, United Kingdom, China, India and the Russian Federation.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 11:43 a.m.

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