Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at a UN Security Council briefing on Iraq
We congratulate you on assuming Presidency in the Security Council, and we thank Great Britain for their presidency in the month of November.
We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert for the briefing. We appreciate statements of Erbil Archbishop Bashar Warda and ICRC Permanent Observer Robert Mardini.
Russia unfailingly stands for preserving sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq, ensuring its internal stability and security. We keep track of developments in this Arab country. We understand that underlying causes of today’s protest manifestations that have surged the country have a social and economic background. One cannot solve in one instant the large cluster of problems that have accumulated over years. That is why it is important that the global community should support Baghdad as it develops comprehensive measures to restore economy and improve social aspects.
We hope that leading parliamentary factions will comply with time frames that are stipulated in the constitution, and put forward a new consensus-based nominee for the office of Prime Minister, thus avoiding vacuum of power in the country that might escalate the internal political crisis. This will help overcome internal disputes and bring stability back to Iraq – a country that plays a crucial role in the entire Middle Eastern region.
In the context of national dialogue it is important to continue contacts that should revive mutual understanding between Baghdad and Erbil. We believe further improvement of their relations will help Iraq strengthen its security.
We are concerned about the remaining high level of terrorist threat in the country. What aggravates the situation is the “relocation” of terrorists from Syria after ISIL was defeated there. We are convinced that we can withstand this trend effectively only given maximum broad coordination of counter-terrorist efforts. All stakeholders that are involved in combatting terrorism in Iraq should respect sovereignty of the Iraqi state and coordinate their actions with Baghdad.
We have closely followed the speech by His Eminence. We would like to underline the importance of keeping ethnic and religious diversity in Iraq and in the entire Middle East – the diversity that has been there for thousands of years. However, that balance that had been gained through suffering was ruined by inhumane crimes of pseudo-Muslim terrorist groups. As a result Christians and other religious minorities that largely constituted a stabilizing factor, found themselves in an exile. Urgent steps should be made in order to stop massive exodus of Christians and other minorities from the Middle East and to keep the unique balance of their coexistence.
In this regard, we cannot fail to mention the tragedy that has taken place recently in Qamishli (Syria), where ISIL terrorists murdered a priest of Armenian Catholic Church Khofsib Beduyan. Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' Kirill condemned this crime and expressed his condolences. We continue to pay attention to finding out what became of two Christian Metropolitans of Aleppo – John and Paul.
We are concerned about possible negative impact of the situation around Iran that is being inflated artificially on the internal political situation in Iraq. Attempts to drag the country in the regional confrontation destabilize the domestic environment in Iraq. Iraq has the right to build and develop good relations with its neighbors. No one has the right to undermine those relations. Once again, we emphasize the need to launch dialogue mechanisms rather than sanctions and threats in the region.
In this regard, we would like to remind that the Secretary-General has a mandate to develop regional security- and confidence-building measures in the region according to resolution 598 of the UN Security Council. We stand open to interaction on such basis with all interested regional and international partners in the framework of the Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf region that we have put forward.
In conclusion, we would like to commend the work of UNAMI. We believe its activity should advance national reconciliation processes and help achieve long-term stability in the country.
On our part, in the course of our contacts with all Iraqi political forces we stress that it is imperative to solve all issues on domestic Iraqi agenda by means of a national dialogue and mutually acceptable agreements that should account for interests of all ethnic and religious groups of this Arab republic.