Baghdad, Iraq, 31 March 2017 - United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres paid a two-day visit to Iraq to express solidarity with the Iraqi people who are at the forefront of the fight against Daesh terrorists. Citing the immense suffering of the displaced, the Secretary-General made a strong appeal for more assistance from the international community to ensure immediate relief and longer term sustainable peace after Daesh is defeated.
The Secretary-General discussed with leaders in Baghdad and Erbil the dire humanitarian situation, which remains one of the world’s largest and most complex, with millions affected, as well as the political situation and efforts towards national reconciliation in the post-Daesh period. He affirmed that he came to Iraq to show solidarity, and underscored his message with a visit to a camp for IDPs who had escaped the raging fighting in Mosul.
Mr. Guterres appealed to the international community to lend additional support to Iraq in humanitarian relief efforts and in stabilization and reconstruction as well as the strengthening of national institutions to create the necessary conditions for national reconciliation.
He particularly singled out the suffering of the displaced people of Mosul when making his appeal for more international assistance. “These people have suffered enormously and they go on suffering. We need more solidarity from the international community,” the Secretary-General said in remarks to the press at the Hasansham IDP camp.
In Baghdad, Mr. Guterres held separate talks with President of the Republic of Iraq H.E. Fouad Masoum, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq H.E. Mr. Haider al-Abadi, Speaker of the Council of Representatives H.E. Mr. Salim al-Jubouri, and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq H.E. Mr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari. The Secretary-General then traveled to Erbil, where he met with H.E. Mr. Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government. He also met in Erbil with Yezidi Prince Tahsin Said Alibeg, who led a delegation from the minority Yezidi community, which has suffered from Daesh’s atrocities.
The Secretary-General recognized the significant progress on the ground in the fight against Daesh, describing the current phase as an “historic moment” for the country, with victory over the terrorist group nearing, and strongly hoping that the liberation of Mosul will soon be completed.
He welcomed the Government of Iraq’s commitment to the protection of civilians in the conduct of military operations and the full respect of international humanitarian law, and acknowledged the sacrifices of the Iraqi people, the Iraqi Security forces and Peshmerga in the fight against Daesh.
Recognizing that defeating Daesh cannot be done without concurrently addressing the root causes of violence and the underlying ideology that promotes violent extremism, the Secretary-General welcomed the government’s commitment to national dialogue and national reconciliation. He appealed for a national dialogue to achieve national reconciliation with reference, inter alia, to the National Settlement Initiative of the National Alliance and the vision paper presented to him during the meeting with Speaker al-Jubouri.
Mr. Guterres encouraged the Iraqis to engage forcefully in the national reconciliation efforts to ensure sustainable peace in the period after the defeat of Daesh and a future based on equal rights, equal treatment and justice and accountability. The Secretary-General underscored that justice for victims of Daesh’s atrocities and “effective accountability” for the perpetrators are issues that need to be addressed not just to highlight the crimes of Daesh but also to dissuade dissatisfied young people from going down the path of terrorism.
“The fight against terrorism needs to be accompanied by the fight against the root causes of terrorism, and by making it very clear how horrendous are the crimes of the organizations like Daesh”.
The Secretary-General urged regional cooperation, regional support for and engagement with the Government of Iraq, encouraged by the signals and pledges at the recent Summit of the League of Arab States in Jordan towards this end.
Mr. Guterres underscored that building strong, resilient institutions will ensure long-term stability, and expressed UN commitment to assist in the process.
He welcomed Prime Minister al-Abadi’s commitment to fight corruption and encouraged him to continue his reforms efforts to address institutional weaknesses, reinforce inclusive governance, enhance public services, introduce needed economic reforms, ensure transparency and accountability, and speed-up the devolution of central powers to the local level to improve service-delivery.
On Baghdad-Erbil relations, the Secretary-General encouraged deepening of cooperation and constructive dialogue between the government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region, including on security-related issues, oil and gas revenues, budget, disputed boundaries and the return of IDPs to their homes, accompanied by stabilization, reconstruction and rehabilitation projects. He offered UN assistance in this regard.
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United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email:
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