World must focus on dual task of defeating ISIL, rebuilding Iraq, UN envoy tells...
World must focus on dual task of defeating...
“The days of the so-called Da'esh caliphate in Iraq are numbered” and discussions on how to rebuild the country had begun, Ján Kubiš, Head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), said in a “briefing to the Council, where he announced that UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently received the long-awaited submission of the Iraqi Forces Coalition's vision of a national settlement.
Mr. Kubiš went on to stress that the imminent defeat of ISIL must also provide an urgent impetus to address the needs of minorities, especially their ability to return to their homes.
The return of all internally displaced persons to all liberated areas must be a top priority, as should tackling increasing incidents of kidnapping and paying sustained attention to upcoming elections in 2017 and 2018.
“National reconciliation can only succeed if it reflects the aspirations of the population, including women and youth,” he said, adding that women and youth, who make up more than half of Iraq's population, are key constituencies. With this in mind, he noted that UNAMI has convened seven separate forums across the country: in Basra, Erbil, Najaf, Diyala, Sulaymanyah, Kirkuk, and Baghdad, bringing together over 750 young participants from all Iraqi provinces.
Urging Baghdad and Erbil to leverage their joint efforts against ISIL and to address such issues as border disputes and building a “functional federation” based on partnership, Mr. Kubiš noted that senior officials in Kurdistan recently announced their intention to hold a referendum on the region's future later in 2017.
They had indicated, he continued, that their aim was to “show the world the will of the people” on the status of Kurdistan, rather than assert independence immediately.
Meanwhile, Turkey's Armed Forces maintained their relentless air attacks against PKK fighters, he said, citing Ankara's declarations that they would continue in order to deny sanctuary to the PKK. The Prime Minster had deplored the attack, he added.
Noting that the overall rule of law remained weak, Mr. Kubiš said kidnapping was becoming an increasing problem, recalling that the National Intelligence Cell had met on 11 May to discuss the link between terrorism and organized crime, including kidnapping. The international community must vigorously pursue accountability for crimes committed by ISIL in Iraq, he said.
Meanwhile, the issue of internally displaced persons remained critical, with some 700,000 people having fled their homes since mid-October, he noted. Hundreds of thousands of others remain in ISIL-controlled areas, suffering lack of food and water and often finding themselves caught in crossfire.
Mr. Kubiš concluded by reporting on his recent visit to Kuwait, saying he had met with officials there on the issue of missing Kuwaiti nationals and property. They had voiced concern about the lack of progress on the ground, he said, urging the Government of Iraq promptly to fulfil its obligations under that file.