An auspicious dynamic Iraq [fr]
Statement by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 13 November 2018
I join others in thanking Special Representative Ján Kubiš for his briefing, which comes at a critical time for Iraq. I also welcome his personal commitment to doing the job that he is leaving and that he carried out with exemplary determination in difficult circumstances. I will discuss the latest developments relating to the electoral process, the remaining challenges that must be met so as to achieve a stable, inclusive and prosperous Iraq, and France’s full support for those efforts and the work of the United Nations.
First, as Ján Kubiš just made clear, we have seen a decisive transformation in Iraq this past year. Iraq was able to defeat Da’esh militarily and meet the challenge presented by parliamentary elections and political transition. Despite difficulties, the peaceful organization of the electoral process within the timeframe set by the Constitution — one year after the military victory over Da’esh — is testimony to the country’s recovery. We welcome that progress and the appointment of new Iraqi authorities.
Despite the tense regional and social environment, the formation of the Government has demonstrated a sense of responsibility on the part of the various actors during the transition period. The relevant figures who have emerged following the process, including the Prime Minister, will be solid assets for the future. We hope that the confirmation of the remaining eight ministers will take place soon. The new Iraqi Government must concentrate without delay on the road map for electoral, economic and financial reform, as well as the reform of the security sector, all of which are imperative.
Secondly, if that auspicious dynamic is to continue, much remains to be done. First of all, Iraq’s stability, which is crucial to preventing the resurgence of Da’esh in any form, is a major issue for the region and our own national security. We will remain mobilized in the fight against terrorism, alongside the Iraqi security forces, and in support for the international coalition’s efforts to counter Da’esh to end that persistent threat definitively.
On the ground, Iraq continues to contend with nearly 2 million internally displaced persons, who must continue to be provided with assistance. The primary goal of the international community — the stabilization of the country — entails assisting with the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons and ensuring security, mine clearance and restoring basic services, without which the prospects for sustainable return will remain dim. More generally, however, as France has continued to emphasize, only national reconciliation and inclusive governance serving the interests of all sectors of Iraqi society will make it possible to defeat terrorism. France is committed to helping the new Iraqi Government meet the challenges of national reconciliation and inclusive governance.
I stress the importance of women’s role in the political process. France calls for progress in that area. I also recall the important role that the Iraqi justice system, which must be seen as exemplary and beyond reproach, must play in ensuring that all those responsible for crimes be tried with respect for the rule of law. We also encourage ongoing efforts to resume negotiations with Erbil so as to resolve pending disputes. The stability of the country requires that the Kurds be afforded their rightful place within a united Iraq that respects its own diversity. In that regard, France commends the measures put in place by Ján Kubiš, which were decisive in resolving the crisis triggered by the independence referendum.
The priority that we must collectively accord to the reconstruction of the country is one of the keys to its future. Iraq will be able to consolidate its institutions only if the Government moves quickly to implement the recovery and resilience programme established at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq, which the entire international community has supported. I recall that Iraq will be incapable of rebuilding itself if it is held hostage to regional tensions. Dissociation is an imperative both for Iraqi leaders and for external Powers.
Lastly, I reiterate that France fully supports the people of Iraq in facing those challenges, which are linked to their sovereignty and unity. France has donated nearly €60 million to Iraq since 2017, in addition to a budget loan of 430€ million. That aid is based on responding to humanitarian needs and supporting the stabilization of territories liberated from Da’esh control. France also wishes to fully support Iraq during its reconstruction phase, which has just begun, and will remain fully engaged with the Iraqi people in the coming months.
In conclusion, I commend the role played by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) under the leadership of Ján Kubiš, particularly over the past several months. Iraq is stronger and more inclusive and stable today, and together we can all thank Ján Kubiš for his crucial contribution to that progress and encourage UNAMI to stay the course in according priority to supporting governance and national reconciliation.