Saturday, 26 March 2016 22:04

UN Secretary-General in Iraq, praises progress in fighting ISIL, welcomes reform agenda and fight against corruption, urges national reconciliation and promises stabilization and humanitarian assistance

Baghdad, Iraq, 26 March 2016 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid a visit to Iraq on Saturday, 26 March 2016, along with Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, and Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani, President of the Islamic Development Bank.

He was received by H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq. At the Government Palace, the Secretary-General, Dr. Kim and Dr. Ali held a meeting with H.E. Mr. Haider Al Abadi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq accompanied by other government ministers. In the afternoon, the Secretary-General, Dr. Kim and Dr. Ali each addressed a session of the Council of Representatives, chaired by the Speaker H.E. Salim Al-Jubouri.

Following discussions with his H.E. Mr. Fouad Masoum, President of the Republic of Iraq, the Secretary-General invited the President to participate in a meeting in April and sign on behalf of Iraq the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The Secretary-General, Dr. Kim and Dr. Ali later headed to the headquarters of the United Nations in Baghdad, where they laid a wreath and observed a minute of silence at the memorial for the fallen staff members.

The Secretary-General also travelled to Erbil, where he, Dr. Kim and Dr. Ali met H.E. Mr. Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and H.E. Mr. Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The Secretary-General congratulated Iraq on its steady victories against terrorism and lauded the heroism and sacrifices of the Iraqi security forces, the Popular Mobilization Forces, the Peshmerga and the tribal forces and, on behalf of the international community, he pledged support in fighting ISIL. He also noted that military victories alone could not defeat the threat posed by ISIL to Iraq, the region and beyond. He stressed the importance of a political solution that would weaken support for ISIL and reinforce Iraq’s unity. In the light of the grave crimes committed by ISIL, the Secretary-General encouraged the authorities of Iraq to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The Secretary-General welcomed Prime Minister Al Abadi’s reform agenda to address institutional weaknesses, curb corruption, bureaucracy and wasteful spending, introduce needed economic reforms, transparency and accountability to address Iraq’s economic and fiscal crisis, and speed-up the devolution of powers to the local level to improve service-delivery. These reforms should among others politically, economically and socially empower women and youth and bring about social cohesion. As in Baghdad, he pledged in Erbil support to the economic reform processes there.

He encouraged continued political dialogue to reach agreement on a single vision on national reconciliation, as well as activities to promote peace and stability in the post ISIL-era. He encouraged Prime Minister Al Abadi to continue efforts to overcome political polarization and divisions. He stressed that tangible solutions to prevent exclusion, inequality and injustice had to include amendments to or adoption of priority legislation, followed by their swift and full implementation.

He expressed appreciation for the enormous efforts made by Iraq to address the country’s humanitarian crisis and reconfirmed the UN’s commitment to help all Iraqis in-need. He lauded the efforts underway to stabilize liberated areas that are required for the safe and voluntary return of displaced families to their homes. He added that it is critically important that civilians are allowed to move to safety and to live in dignity.

He acknowledged the significant remaining challenges in these areas, including massive destruction, widespread contamination of improvised explosive devices and the importance of community and tribal reconciliation, and reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to help in these areas.

The Secretary-General expressed strong support for the planned international conference on stabilization and reconstruction and stressed the importance of it being well coordinated and planned.
The Secretary-General encouraged the authorities of Iraq to take every possible step to achieve tangible progress concerning Kuwaiti missing persons and property.

In Erbil, he thanked for the generous support the Kurdistan Region has provided to Internally Displaced Persons and refugees. He pledged to assist the efforts of the Kurdistan Region’s Government to address the immense crisis and to mobilize international support.

The Secretary-General expressed hope for continued dialogue and cooperation between Baghdad and Erbil in the spirit of partnership, which was required to maintain the unity necessary to fight ISIL, address the economic and fiscal crisis, and implement political and economic reforms based on the principles of inclusiveness, democracy and law.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI

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