Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in Iraq
We thank Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert for briefing us on the situation in Iraq. We welcome the Special Representative of Iraq to this meeting.
We closely follow the developments and changes in friendly Iraq, where the situation remains rather unstable. Complex socio-economic situation provokes protests among the population. The state of affairs is further aggravated by a decrease in state revenues due to the dropping global oil prices, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, we support the efforts of the Iraqi government under the lead of M.Al-Kadhimi, aimed at stabilizing the situation in the country, i.a. ensuring security and legal order. At the same time, we realize that the huge cluster of problems that have emerged over years for objective reasons cannot be resolved overnight. Iraq had to recover after the events of 2003 and an exhausting war on terrorism that followed.
It is our understanding that one of the priorities of Iraq’s cabinet of ministers at this stage is preparation for early parliamentary elections scheduled for October. We note progress in preparing for the electoral cycle and hope that it will run on time. We realize that it will not be easy for the Iraqi government to take into account all opinions existing in Iraq’s political, social, ethnical and religious landscape. At the same time, we are convinced that inclusive dialogue will help overcome internal disputes in the country.
We commend the continuation of dialogue that should restore mutual understanding and settle the existing disputes between Baghdad and Erbil. There is no doubt that further betterment of their relations will help Iraq strengthen its security, whereas resolving the accumulated ethnical and religious problems will ensure that the economic potential is effectively used for the benefit of the entire Iraqi nation.
The international community needs to support Baghdad as it elaborates comprehensive measures aimed at socio-economic and humanitarian recovery, especially against the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic. Also, Iraq needs reconstruction of districts that have been devastated by ISIL.
The commitment of Baghdad and Kuwait City to promptly resolve all the remaining issues of the Iraqi-Kuwaiti file with due account for the stable positive dynamic of this process deserves particular support. This will serve the interests of sustaining peace, security, and stability in the Middle East.
We welcome the increasingly larger role of Baghdad in regional, i.a. general Arab affairs. We believe that the region should move towards stability step-by-step, while ensuring equal interaction of all regional and other interested sides in relieving conflicts, elaborating confidence- and control-building measures, which will ultimately create an integral mechanism for collective security and cooperation in the sub-region. We invite all regional countries, including Iraq, to cooperate at this track, i.a. in the framework of Russia’s renewed concept for collective security in the Persian Gulf.
We are concerned over the remaining high level of terrorist threat. Despite some success on the counter-terrorism front, the security situation in Iraq remains fragile, i.a. due to revitalization of the terrorist underground network that regularly commits subversive acts in various regions of the country, i.a. engaging suicide bombers.
This challenge can be effectively addressed only through maximum broad coordination of counter-terrorism efforts. Thereby we assume that all actors who are engaged in countering terrorism in Iraq need to respect sovereignty of the country and coordinate their actions with Baghdad. Also, it is our understanding that foreign military contingents can be present in Iraq only when approved by the local authorities or authorized by the Security Council.
We call on all external stakeholders who are interested in stabilizing the domestic situation in Iraq to refrain from destructive unilateral steps that negatively impact the situation both inside and outside the country. Iraq must not turn into arena for settling scores or for regional confrontation.