22 May 2017 - Iraq : Sustainable peace must be established [fr]
Iraq-UNAMI- Statement by Ms Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 22 May 2017
I thank Mr. Jan Kubiš for his briefing and for his outstanding
work in the field. France reiterates its support for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and thanks the Mission and the Secretary-General for the most recent report (S/2017/357), which was issued a few weeks ago.
Like previous speakers, I would like to address three points: the security situation, the humanitarian situation and the political situation.
First, on the military front, France commends the courage and the determination of the Iraqi forces. With support from the coalition, they have won decisive victories against Da’esh, which has lost almost two thirds of the territories that it controlled at the height of its expansion. In Mosul, in particular, Iraqi forces have made a significant breakthrough since the start of the offensive in the western districts. We also welcome
the launch of the operation by the Iraqi army against Da’esh in the so-called 160 -kilometre area aimed at securing Rutba.
Those successes further reinforce the importance of being demanding and vigilant in the humanitarian field at all times, in particular with regard to the protection of civilians. France reiterates its commitment to ensuring that all forces operate under the strict control of the Iraqi authorities and welcomes the steps taken by the Iraqi Government to make the protection of civilians a priority when planning operations, in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The most recent advances by the Iraqi security forces to retake control of Mosul have sparked a large wave of displaced people. Every effort should be made to assist those people. France is very concerned about the plight of civilians trapped in Mosul and stands with the Iraqi authorities to continue to mobilize the international community. I wish to reiterate in the strongest terms our condemnation of the violence and abuses committed by Da’esh, including the use of civilians as human shields. Every effort should be made to facilitate the sustainable and voluntary return of civilian populations, including persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, where security and development conditions permit. The dignity of these people and, beyond that, the maintenance of diversity and ethnic and religious pluralism in the region, are at stake. Council members are aware that France is committed to the Paris action plan. That plan was submitted by France and Jordan at the International Conference on the Victims of Ethnic and Religious Violence in the Middle East, which was held in Paris on 8 September 2015, and for which the first follow-up conference thereto will be held in Madrid on Wednesday, 24 May. We support humanitarian and stabilization actions on the ground in order to provide the displaced populations with satisfactory living conditions and, where possible, to encourage their return to their towns and villages of origin. The return-assistance projects currently being implemented focus mainly on demining, socioeconomic recovery and the resumption of basic public services, based on an integrated and geographically targeted logic. I would also like to refer to the fight against impunity, which is an essential component of the mandate of UNAMI. It is now urgent to gather and preserve evidence as soon as possible so that the authenticity of the objects is protected and subsequently that those objects be transferred and examined by the competent court when the time comes. France will support efforts in that vein, in support of the Iraqi Government. The Prime Minister, Mr. Haider Al Abadi, has called on the Security Council to act. We must shoulder our responsibilities. There can be no lasting peace without justice. Given the magnitude of these challenges, the work of the United Nations and its partners, in conjunction with the Iraqi Government, must be commended. They organize and provide humanitarian assistance under these difficult conditions, and make it possible to host civilians fleeing the fighting in emergency facilities. Priority should also be given to strengthening the already considerable stabilization efforts undertaken by the Iraqi authorities and the United Nations Development Programme in areas freed from the yoke of Da’esh. Alongside those efforts, cultural heritage, as the representative of Italy recalled, must also be protected. That cannot be neglected in view of the extent of the destruction observed in Iraq. We must exercise utmost vigilance to combat all trafficking and to make use of all the tools at our disposal, in particular resolution 2347 (2017), which we submitted jointly with Italy, and which the Secretary-General references in his report (S/2017/357). Beyond the emergency, we must also and above all now prepare for the future in order to avoid any security or governance vacuum. That includes an inclusive governance policy plan for Mosul and its region. Indeed, winning the war is not enough. Sustainable peace must be established. The total and lasting defeat of Da’esh relies on a comprehensive, political and inclusive solution that speaks to thebaspirations of all segments of the Iraqi population, with respect for both its diversity and the unity of Iraq. There is an urgent need for the political, institutional, economic and social reintegration of all segments of society, especially Sunni Muslims, without which chaos will only return. We welcome the progress that has already been made and call on the Iraqi Government to accelerate the adoption and implementation of reforms that encourage national reconciliation. We also call on that Government to establish inclusive governance at the national and local levels and to put in place local security forces that are accepted by the population. Our support for Prime Minister Al Abadi is essential to his ability to overcome these immense challenges in a tense pre-electoral atmosphere.
Lastly, we encourage Erbil and Baghdad to continue their dialogue, which, at the political level, has made it possible to define the modalities of an agreement for operation in Mosul operations; to resolve differences between them; and to take the first steps toward a sustainable solution, with full respect for the unity of Iraq. Given the breadth of these challenges, our collective and continuous support to the Iraqi authorities is indispensable.