Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at a UN Security Council Briefing on Iraq
We congratulate our Chinese colleagues on assuming the duties of Security Council President. You can always count on support of our delegation. We are grateful to Belgium for its Presidency. Though short, this month was quite busy and intense.
We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert for her briefing. We support the work of the UNAMI, which activity could contribute to reconciliation processes given respect for the sovereignty of the country.
We keep close track of the developments in Iraq. On 1 March Prime Minister designate Mohammed Allawi relieved himself from the duties to form a government. President of the Republic of Iraq Barham Salih will now have to consult with the leading political forces in order to come up with a new candidature for the office of the Head of Government. We expect that this process will be well-timed and will comply with provisions of the Constitution. We understand that the Iraqi leadership faces an uneasy task that is to account for the whole range of opinions of the country’s political, social, ethnic, and religious landscapes.
We are convinced that it is the inclusive dialogue that will help overcome internal disputes in Iraq – the country that is of key importance for the entire Middle East. For our part, in the course of our contacts with all political forces of Iraq, we drive them at unifying efforts that would help solve all issues on domestic Iraqi agenda and facilitate mutually acceptable agreements.
The country is living through mass demonstrations that demand political, social and economic changes. As we heard from Iraqi officials, the authorities view these demonstrations as an element of democratic self-expression and remain committed to obligations to ensure freedom of peaceful assemblies. We note a decrease in the level of violence and pay respect to the law enforcement bodies. We call upon all sides to continue their reserved stance. However, we believe it is unacceptable for external forces to use the demonstrations as a tool to leverage the domestic situation.
The authorities are developing plans to carry out reforms; however, it is quite impossible unless there is a government that functions in a stable way. Neither is it possible to solve in one instant the large bulk of problems that have accumulated over years and have been caused by objective reasons. Iraq has to restore after the events of 2003 and a harsh war on terrorists that came thereafter. It is important that the global community should support Baghdad as it develops comprehensive measures aimed at restoring the economy and improving social aspects.
We give a positive assessment to continuing dialogue that should restore mutual understanding between Baghdad and Erbil. We are convinced that further improvement of their relations will help Iraq promote its security and effectively use its economic capacity for the good of the entire Iraqi nation.
It is with concern that we note the remaining high level of terrorist threat in the country. The situation is aggravated by relocation of ISIL terrorists from Syria. We believe one can counter this challenge effectively only if there is a maximum broad coordination of anti-terrorist efforts. Thereby we proceed from the necessity to ensure that all stakeholders that are part of fight against terrorism in Iraq must respect Iraq’s sovereignty and coordinate their actions with Baghdad.
We have concerns about the deliberate inflation of the situation around Iran that might affect the domestic situation in Iraq. Iraq should not be dragged into regional confrontation. Let me repeat our unchanging point: Iraq should not become an arena for settling regional accounts. The country has the right to build and develop normal relations with its neighbors. No one may undermine those relations. All of us have seen the dangerous escalation early this year, when the region almost stepped on the verge of conflict as a result of the United States illegally killing Iran’s military commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi officials in Baghdad. This was an act that undermined stability and security of a sovereign UN member state that was committed without this state’s knowledge.
Let me once again emphasize the need to launch dialogue mechanisms in the region instead of threats and sanctions. In this regard let me remind that the Secretary-General of the UN is holder of a mandate to develop security- and confidence-building measures in accordance with UNSC resolution 598. We are open for interaction with all interested regional and global partners on such basis – in the framework of the Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf that we proposed and of other constructive initiatives.