Statement by Ambassador Sven Jürgenson at UN Security Council VTC meeting on Iraq (UNMAI)

I would like to thank Special Representative Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert for her briefing and for the excellent work that she is doing.

We express solidarity and support to the Iraqi Government which is facing political, economic and security challenges, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is essential that all Iraqi stakeholders contribute to improving the environment for holding credible, transparent and inclusive parliamentary elections, which are crucial for restoring trust in Iraq’s political system. We welcome the finalization of electoral legislation and call for continued technical preparations for the elections in close cooperation with UNAMI.

Iraq’s request for UNAMI’s role in observing the elections has been noted. The Council must seriously consider the options for responding to Iraq’s request.

We fully support the steps of the Government of Iraq towards urgently needed reforms. We call upon the Government to implement the economic reforms proposed in the Government’s White Paper, and to take additional measures to improve governance and rule of law, and to bring all armed forces under state control.

The continued terrorist attacks, including against diplomatic missions and convoys, in Iraq are deeply concerning. We strongly condemn yesterday’s deadly rocket attack in Erbil. In the context of the recent terror attack in Baghdad, we reiterate our continued support for Iraq’s security and the fight against Daesh. We also reiterate the need for all actors to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and to refrain from any military action, which would threaten the stability of Iraq.

We welcome the appointment of the third female member of the Iraqi Cabinet and support the call of the President of Iraq to develop programmes to support women’s economic, social and political empowerment. Regarding the Government’s efforts to combat COVID-19, more attention has to be paid to the impact of the crisis on women and children, who continue to be affected the most.

We are concerned about the ongoing violence against protesters, civil society activists and journalists. We urge the Government of Iraq to take further steps to ensure accountability for all violations and to ensure the protection of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. We welcome the engagement of the Government of Iraq with the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and urge the government to adopt legislation on protection from enforced disappearance.

On the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, we welcome the identification of twenty Kuwaiti missing persons recovered in Iraq. Hopefully this breakthrough will give impetus to further developments in this important humanitarian cooperation between the two governments.