Speaker for Baghdad Outlines Steps towards Forming New, Inclusive Government, as Delegates Urge End to Political Deadlock, Condemn Violence in Kurdistan Region
One year after elections were held, and three years after Iraqis took to the streets to protest a lack of political, economic and social prospects, the continuing absence of a functioning government is hard to justify, the senior United Nations official in the country told the Security Council today, while stressing the need for Iraq’s leaders — “all of them” — to engage in dialogue and “pull the country back from the ledge”.
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), presented the Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2022/714) on key political developments and the Organization’s activities in the country since May.
Describing an atmosphere of pervasive disillusionment, punctuated by protests and counter-protests that flared out into armed clashes in the capital and elsewhere on 29 August, bringing the country to the “brink of total chaos”, she said that such events had not proven to have been the wake-up call they should have been. “The harsh reality is that, to date, intra-Shia strife has not abated, nor have Kurdish parties come closer to agreeing on a presidential candidate,” she said.
Noting that a National Dialogue had been convened twice under the auspices of Iraq’s Prime Minister, she said it was crucial that all parties take their seat, while pointing out that none of them were so far represented by women. While UNAMI had supported such efforts, as well as dialogues and countless bilateral meetings, political will was sorely needed, as “we do not have a magic wand”, she said, emphasizing: “One thing is clear: the persistent and overt lack of trust perpetuates a zero-sum game, a game in which commitment to concrete solutions is being avoided.”
In the ensuing discussion, delegates agreed on the pressing need to resolve the political deadlock and form a new and more inclusive Government that ensures the representation of women. Many condemned the continuing violence in Kurdistan, which they said must cease, while several underlined the need to address the country’s acute vulnerability to climate change impacts.
The delegate of France called on parties to shoulder their responsibilities and form a Government, amid the continuing political impasse one year after elections were held. While welcoming the Prime Minister’s initiatives to launch a National Dialogue, she called for such talks to be inclusive and enable the participation of women, who have been excluded despite being elected to Parliament in November.
The United States’ speaker condemned the missile and drone attacks in the Iraqi Kurdistan region on 28 September — a major escalation of Iran’s violations of Iraq’s sovereignty. Likewise, Albania’s representative called on Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to refrain from intimidation, threats and further escalation of violence.
Gabon’s representative, also speaking for Ghana and Kenya, commended the continued UNAMI support of post-election activities in Iraq, and called on the Independent High Electoral Commission and the Independent High Elections and Referendum Commission of the Kurdistan region to strengthen their cooperation and pool their technical expertise. In addition, he condemned military operations by external actors in the north of the country, stressing that Iraq must not be used as an international arena for States and non-State actors to settle scores to the detriment of the country and its people.
In a similar vein, the Russian Federation’s delegate observed that external players were trying to take advantage of Iraq’s internal difficulties, stressing: “It is unacceptable for Iraq to morph into an area for personal score-settling and regional confrontation.” He urged the international community to support Baghdad’s efforts to stabilize the situation in the country, and called for all stakeholders engaged in counter-terrorism in the country to support its sovereignty and coordinate their actions with its officials.
For his part, the representative of China commended Iraq for its fight against ISIL/Da’esh and the sacrifices made as part of that fight, while calling on the international community to support its efforts to eradicate the remnants of terror. The United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (UNITAD) should hand over evidence collected to Iraq, so that it might bring terrorists to justice in accordance with national law.
Meanwhile, the representative of Norway pointed out that 2022 is the last year of the humanitarian response plan, and commended the Iraqi authorities for taking over the responsibility of fulfilling humanitarian needs. Her country will continue its humanitarian assistance and cooperation with Iraqi authorities, she affirmed. She went on to commend the joint efforts of UNAMI and the Iraqi authorities on various issues, including climate action, improving regional cooperation on water management and investing in a renewable future.
Iraq’s representative outlined steps taken by his country’s political parties to break the deadlock that has persisted since elections took place last year, and to forge ahead towards forming a new, inclusive Government that meets the aspirations of its people and guarantees balanced representation. He condemned Turkey’s ongoing violations in northern Iraq, killing civilians, including women and children, and destroying infrastructure.
Spotlighting the severe impacts of climate change, which are being exacerbated by the actions of co-riparian countries, he called for enhanced cooperation and dialogue to tackle the outcomes, which include a decrease in arable land and an increase in drought.
Also speaking were representatives of India, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 11:40 a.m.