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UN supports battle against terrorism, corruption, reforms in Iraq

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The UN Security Council has passed a resolution, encouraging Iraq’s newly formed government to prioritize reforms and combat corruption. The resolution also expressed support for Iraq’s ongoing fight against ISIS, al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups. It extended the mandate of the UN political mission in Iraq for a year, acknowledging the confirmation of a new government and Cabinet led by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani after a prolonged political deadlock and outbreaks of street violence.

Iraq, which has been seeking stability two decades after the US invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, faced significant challenges, including the seizure of cities by ISIS in 2014. Although the group was declared defeated in 2017, its sleeper cells continue to pose a threat. The past two decades saw significant loss of life, with approximately 300,000 Iraqis and over 8,000 US military personnel, contractors, and civilians losing their lives.

The resolution expressed support for Iraq’s efforts to address these challenges, including the fight against ISIS and al-Qaida, while ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law. It also endorsed Iraq’s ongoing recovery, reconstruction, and reconciliation. The council urged al-Sudani’s government to not only deliver on reforms and tackle corruption but also to safeguard the human rights of all Iraqis, promote accountability for rights violations, provide essential services, diversify the oil-dependent economy, generate employment opportunities, improve governance, combat climate change, and strengthen the security sector.

During her address to the council, UN special envoy for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert emphasized the significant hurdles faced over the past two decades and commended the resolve shown by the new government in addressing pressing issues. However, she stressed the importance of prioritizing national interests over individual or party interests and supporting independent state institutions. Hennis-Plasschaert highlighted the need for constructive opposition and coalition dynamics and called for the passage of a federal budget to facilitate the achievement of government goals and the delivery of public services.

The resolution, adopted by a unanimous vote, extended the mandate of the UN political mission, UNAMI, led by Hennis-Plasschaert, until May 31, 2024. The resolution outlined UNAMI’s top priorities, which include providing advice, support, and assistance to the Iraqi government in advancing inclusive political dialogue and national and community-level reconciliation. UNAMI was also tasked with supporting Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission and other institutions to strengthen electoral preparations, reviewing the constitution, and facilitating security sector reforms.

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