Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative
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Allow me to begin by congratulating you on presiding over the Council. We wish you the utmost success. We are also grateful to France for conducting an efficient presidency last month.
I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, for her thorough briefing. We further welcome the participation of the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Iraq, Ambassador Mohammed Bahr AlUloom, in today’s meeting.
Today’s meeting takes place amidst a critical period for Iraq. The delay in forming a new government over the recent months has led to an escalation of the situation, an increase in violence, and civilian deaths and injuries. The UAE expresses its concern over these events. We call upon the relevant stakeholders to overcome the current obstacles hindering the formation of a new Iraqi government and to ensure that the interest of the Iraqi people prevail over all other considerations. There should be an urgent return to constructive dialogue, calm, and self-restraint. These are critical and indispensable demands. A stable and predictable political institution is a necessary to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people, who seek to focus on reconstruction, to live in security and prosperity, and to be ensured access to basic services. We stress here that further violence and escalation will not only impact Iraq and its people, but also the entire region.
The UAE also affirms its rejection of foreign interference in the internal affairs of Iraq, which undermines Iraq’s sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, and political independence. We also condemn violence of any kind that continues to destabilize Iraq’s security and stability, in contrary to human principles and values. This also includes terrorist acts, especially as Da’esh remains a persistent threat in Iraq. The group’s relentless attacks reached 184 in number during the reported period of the Secretary-General’s report. The UAE commends the progress made by the Iraqi forces in combating this scourge, and we look forward to continued efforts until the threat is fully eliminated. There is also a need to continue working to counter extremism and terrorism and addressing their root causes. There are concerns that the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in camps, such as Al-Hol in Syria, provide fertile ground for radicalization and for terrorist groups to exploit the situation to recruit the next generation of terrorists. We welcome Iraq’s repatriation, with UN assistance, of over 2,500 citizens from Al-Hol camp. We emphasize the need to urgently work towards reaching a sustainable solution to the situation in the camp.
Regarding the missing Kuwaitis and third-country nationals as well as missing Kuwaiti property – including the national archives – the UAE is encouraged by the incremental progress made during the past four months and hopes that such progress will continue. We continue to applaud the efforts by Kuwait and Iraq in this regard.
To conclude, the UAE affirms its support for the work of UNAMI in the implementation of its mandate, in coordination with the Iraqi government. We welcome the news of Claudio Cordone assuming his new position as Deputy SRSG for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance. I would also like to commend the Iraqi people for showing resilience in the face of great adversity. The UAE re-affirms its steadfast support for security and stability in Iraq as well as reconstruction efforts.
Thank you, Mr. President.