Special Representative in Iraq Paints Gloomy Picture for 2016 while Briefing Security Council, Despite ‘Some Recent Success’ against ISIL
Permanent Representative Seeks Withdrawals of Turkish Force, Citing Sovereignty
The humanitarian crisis in Iraq was expected “to widen and worsen” in 2016, despite some recent success in rolling back Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), the senior United Nations official in that country told the Security Council today.
Presenting the Secretary-General’s second report pursuant to paragraph 7 of resolution 2231 (2015) — contained in document S/2016/77 — Jan Kubiš, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said “the heroic people of Iraq have been steadily gaining ground” against ISIL, with the liberation of Beiji, Sinjar and Ramadi providing lessons for regaining the city of Mosul and other ISIL-held areas.
“Regardless of these successes, the threat of ISIL should not be underestimated,” he cautioned, emphasizing the need for military victories to be complemented by political and community reconciliation, as well as “massive stabilization and rehabilitation efforts” that would enable internally displaced persons to return home. “The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is highly complex and is expected to widen and worsen this year.”
He went on to point out that some 10 million Iraqis — almost one third of the population – were in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, but due to the grave economic and fiscal situation, both the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government were hard-pressed to provide it. Such fiscal challenges were also “likely to impact the fight against ISIL”, he added, warning that if they were left unaddressed, the renewed morale of pro-Government forces, and the confidence of Iraqis in their country’s future, could suffer.
Urging the international community to step forward with more technical support and funding, including loans from international and regional financial institutions, he called attention to a lack of progress in implementing a national political agreement in Iraq, attributing it to the absence of political consensus and the pursuit of partisan interests. The full and equal participation of Sunnis in national reconciliation was still a challenge, he said, underlining the necessity for Sunni political forces and leaders to unify their positions “in the most inclusive manner possible”.
Mr. Kubiš then presented the ninth report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 4 of resolution 2107 (2013) — contained in document S/2016/87 — on the issue of missing Kuwait and third-country nationals and property, including the national archives. He described a decision by the Council of Ministers to transfer the technical overview of the missing Kuwaiti persons file to the Ministry of Defence as “a positive step” which, however, still required both implementation and financial resources. Otherwise, bilateral cooperation was reaching new heights, with agreements being signed on such topics as youth and sports, inspection and control, and communications.
Following the briefing, Mohamed Ali Alhakim (Iraq) said the war against terrorism, the decline in oil prices, the reconstruction of infrastructure and the restoration of basic services in areas liberated from ISIL posed significant challenges. Noting that 3 million displaced people were in need of assistance, he thanked the countries financing stabilization programmes in liberated areas, as well as international coalition and European forces for supporting the fight against terrorism.
He encouraged the Council to compel Member States to implement resolutions 2170 (2014), 2178 (2014) and 2199 (2015), including provisions concerning borders and halting the influx of combatants, as well as others relating to the prevention of access to weapons. The Council should also request that Turkey withdraw its troops, the presence of which undermined Iraq’s sovereignty. “The issue here is a flagrant violation of the principles of the Charter, international law and pertinent Security Council resolutions,” he stressed, while noting that Iraq was strengthening ties with its neighbours.
Turning to the question of Kuwaiti and third-country citizens who had disappeared, he said the person in charge had been transferred to the Ministry of Defence with the relevant archives, databases and files in order to guarantee the continuation of the relevant hearings. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had published announcements encouraging people to provide information on mass graves, archives or other Kuwaiti property. Furthermore, Kuwait and Iraq were in regular contact to update the border delineation project, he said, recalling that the most recent contact had been a high-level meeting held in December to address economic, political, social and environmental issues of common interest.
Regarding Camp Hurriya, he said a political council was working with the adviser to the Secretary-General responsible for relocating its inhabitants. Iraq was working find a permanent solution to the issue, he added.
The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 3:32 p.m.