Wednesday, 04 October 2017 14:47

Excerpts from the remarks on Iraq by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, at the daily briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, on 03 October 2017

We have been asked in recent days about our efforts to deal with the authorities in Baghdad and Erbil. And I can say that we welcome efforts to resolve the issues between Baghdad and Erbil based on the Constitution, notably the intervention of the religious authority Ayatollah [Ali] al-Sistani last Friday that urged respect for the Constitution and the Supreme Federal Court’s decision as regards to the referendum. We also welcome other initiatives to resolve the crisis within the constitutional framework and in full respect of Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, to re start dialogue and cooperation between Baghdad and Erbil on this basis.

The UN [Assistance] Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) is carefully monitoring the impact of the administrative, legal, economic and diplomatic steps and measures introduced by the federal government in discharge of its prerogatives, rights and responsibilities according to the Constitution. The UN in Iraq urges both sides to start technical negotiations on how to implement them, in the spirit of partnership. We take note of the pledges of the Government of Iraq to preserve and respect the interests of all its citizens, including the Kurdistan region, and the confirmation that the measures are not intended to prevent travel of the people and arrival of supplies, to punish the people or to impose sanctions, but that they are for controlling the entry and exit of people and goods in the region, and putting it under the control of the federal government and federal authorities.

We continue to call for calm and restraint, and strongly call on all sides to avoid statements, public announcements and steps that could raise racial or sectarian tensions, that could further inflame the situation and pave the way towards escalation.

With regards to the Middle East, UNHCR says it is becoming increasingly concerned over the funding situation for refugees and other displaced families in the Middle East, where currently only a quarter of families are likely to receive adequate support to prepare for the approaching winter.

There are nearly 15 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people scattered across the region. UNHCR estimates that as many as 4 million are in the extreme risk category and need timely and substantial help to prepare for the forthcoming winter. Of these, only one in four is likely to get the assistance they need. The $245 million Regional Winter Assistance Plan for the region is only 26 per cent funded.

In response to a number of questions at the daily briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, on 02 October 2017, Mr. Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary General, said:

First of all, one of the things I can say appreciatively is that the governments in Baghdad and Erbil both have been understanding and supportive of our humanitarian mandate and activities, and they've pledged to continue their support, cooperation and facilitation. So, we are working with them to make sure that we can continue to go about our humanitarian activities. But we are encountering cooperation from both of them.

At this stage, on the humanitarian front, we continue our operations to serve the people who are most in need, including the many displaced people who are in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. We appreciate the assurances of support and full cooperation that we've received from the authorities in Baghdad and in the Kurdistan region to ensure that our work in all fields, in particular humanitarian affairs, human rights, development and political affairs, will continue unhindered.

We have continued to receive the cooperation we need, and we hope and expect that it will go on.

Additional Info

  • Agency: UNAMI

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