Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on Iraq
We thank SRSG Plasschaert for the briefing on the situation in Iraq in the context of the activities of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
It is clear from SRSG's assessments that the Republic of Iraq continues to undergo a difficult stage of socio-economic and political recovery against the backdrop of ongoing region-wide tensions, an unprecedented escalation of violence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone and the terrorist threat posed by ISIL.
In that difficult context, we commend the tireless efforts of the Cabinet of Ministers led by Muhammad Al-Sudani to improve the situation in the country and welcome the long-awaited provincial council elections that took place on 18 December last year. At the same time, we note that the electoral process in the 15 provinces was well-organized and proceeded without major irregularities. This will allow to convoke new local authorities soon to improve, among other things, the quality of state services and build confidence.
In that regard, we trust that all Iraqi players will continue to take a responsible approach and will seek to resolve existing differences exclusively through dialogue in the interests of all ethno-confessional communities and social groups.
It is inclusive dialogue that will facilitate the holding of parliamentary elections in the Kurdish Autonomous Region. We recall that any attempts by external forces to capitalize on intra-Iraqi contradictions are unacceptable.
We consistently support the continuation of political dialogue between the federal center and the Kurdish Autonomous Region to resolve all existing differences, which is key to ensuring prosperity, stability and peace in our friendly Iraq. We are convinced that further improvement in relations between them will benefit the economic development and political stability of the whole country.
Despite Baghdad's achievements at the security track, the situation on the ground remains fragile, including due to the United States' attempts to turn the territory of Iraq into an arena for settling personal geopolitical scores and solving self-serving domestic political tasks. All of it taking place against the backdrop of Washington's failed policy for the Middle East settlement and the US presidential race that is currently gaining momentum.
Thus, on February 3, the US Air Force, on the orders of Joe Biden, carried out a series of airstrikes on the territory of Iraq and Syria (85 targets hit with more than 125 missiles). At the same time, Washington traditionally tried to hide its crimes behind Article 51 of the UN Charter, claiming that everything was coordinated with the Iraqi authorities. The Iraqis said that the US "operation" was "another blatant aggression" and a violation of their country's sovereignty. Washington's statements about some kind of coordination with Baghdad were debunked as "a deliberate lie aimed at distorting public opinion and avoiding legal responsibility".
Yesterday, at the UN Security Council meeting on the US aggression against Iraq and Syria that convened on our initiative, we heard from the Iraqi delegation that the presence of the US-led international anti-ISIL coalition in Iraq has become an excuse for its involvement in regional and international conflicts and a threat to security and stability of the country. It clearly followed from the US statement that the United States poses as a self-proclaimed master of human destinies and the "world gendarme" who has the right to commit whatever lawlessness and international law violations. For Washington, international law simply does not exist. It has been replaced by the so-called "rules-based order", where rules are devised by the United States at own discretion.
We strongly condemn the flagrant act of the US aggression against sovereign nations, which creates additional risks and heats instability in an already "blazing" region. At the same time, we consistently proceed from the premise that it is possible to effectively counter terrorist challenges and threats only through the broadest possible coordination of counter-terrorism efforts, while respecting the sovereignty of Iraq and the need to harmonize all actions with Baghdad.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate support for UNAMI's diverse efforts and thank Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert for her tireless years and dedicated work as Special Representative since 2018 to improve the socio-political aspects and functioning of the Iraqi state, including the organization and conduct of electoral processes.