Iraq is facing many internal, regional and economic challenges [fr]
Statement by Ms Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 12 May 2020
I thank the SRSG, Ms Hennis-Plasschaert, for her presentation and the outstanding work UNAMI is doing under her leadership. You have the full support of France for your mission.
France congratulates the new Prime Minister, Mr. Mustapha al Kadhimi, for his nomination and the formation of the Iraqi government. We are confident that the remaining governmental positions will be filled shortly, with the participation of women.
As the SRSG has underlined, Iraq is facing many internal, regional and economic challenges. And the COVID-19 pandemic adds to this already difficult situation. It is essential that we all bring our support to Iraq at this crucial moment to contain and mitigate the pandemic, which could have dramatic consequences, notably for the most vulnerable, and to consolidate the national democratic project of the country.
There are four main elements that I would like to underline in this regard:
First, it is essential that the new Iraqi government challenges the status quo in the country to live up to the expectations of the Iraqi people. Meaningful reforms are needed: fighting corruption, promoting sustainable economic growth and diversification, streamlining bureaucracy, improving public services, ensuring gender equality. Iraqi women have also courageously participated in the protests and the full diversity of their voices and demands must be taken into account in any political and decision-making process.
The first measures announced by Prime Minister Kadhimi are encouraging, in particular the commission in charge of identifying those responsible for the repression of the protesters. Indeed accountability is crucial for a stable and democratic Iraq in the long term. The inclusion of members of the civil society in this commission is a positive signal and we encourage the Iraqi government to pursue the engagement with civil society in all areas.
Free, fair, inclusive and transparent elections will also be a major milestone in the path towards a sovereign and democratic Iraq.
Secondly, it is crucial that Iraq stays away from regional tensions in line with the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire. It is essential for the stability of the country and to facilitate the fight against COVID-19. It is also indispensable for the pursuit of the fight against Daesh for which the international Coalition plays a crucial role in support of the Iraqi government. In this regard, it is also essential that all armed groups be effectively under the control of the State authorities.
Thirdly, the humanitarian situation remains of great concern, in particular in the context of the pandemic. We are deeply concerned by the situation of the 1.4 million internally displaced persons who are extremely vulnerable. Efforts to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 must be scaled up, notably in camps of displaced persons and refugees. A rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, which has become more difficult in the past few months, is more necessary than ever. In this context, France will continue its assistance efforts, in particular in the field of humanitarian assistance and health which has been a priority for us for a long time, notably the rebuilding and the development of the medicine faculty in Mosul and the construction of a hospital in Sinjar. France will, in particular, support the survivors of sexual violence in Sinjar in the context of the work of the Global Survivors Fund.
Fourthly, in this context, it is essential that UNAMI keeps a robust mandate in support of the Iraqi people and government. Its role in favor of inclusive political dialogue, reconciliation, electoral assistance, human rights and accountability is indispensable. We also strongly encourage UNAMI to pursue its engagement with the civil society.
Finally, I wish to say a word on the developments pertaining to missing Kuwaiti and third country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives. Progress is being made month after month on this important issue despite some inevitable delays due to the pandemic. It is important that the cooperation between all actors involved remains strong.
Let me conclude by saying that our conviction is that a sovereign, inclusive and prosperous Iraq is the key for a stable and peaceful Middle East. And my country is committed to stand firmly alongside the Iraqi people and their government in those challenging times. Thank you.