Statement by Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo, Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on Iraq, 24 November 2020

Madame President,

We thank the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Ms Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, for her briefing. South Africa supports and continues to have confidence in the efforts of the Special Representative.

Madame President,

South Africa supports the mandate of UNAMI in promoting the strengthening of the Government of Iraq and its electoral processes. We look forward to the adoption of the election law by the House of Representatives ahead of the much-anticipated elections on 6 June 2021.

We support the drive for an inclusive government which will bring together all diverse aspects of Iraqi society into the governance structures. National reconciliation and unity remain vital in avoiding future challenges stemming from shifting government policies and actions. Domestic unity, cohesion and determination are urgently needed to build resilience against narrow partisan interest, foreign interference, and criminal elements which actively seek to impede Iraq’s stability.

South Africa is pleased to witness a significant breakthrough following the formation of the new government headed by His Excellency Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, which pays special attention on improving public services and meeting the promises made to the people of Iraq.

South Africa continues to urge increased and improved cooperation between the national government of Iraq and the Kurdistan regional government – and the finalisation of resource and revenue sharing agreements.

Madame President,

South Africa supports UNAMI and the Government of Iraq in its post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts which provide much needed humanitarian assistance throughout the country, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of the pandemic in Iraq has strained an already fragile health-care system.

Madame President,

Peace and security remain fundamental for Iraq to develop its infrastructure, grow its economy and provide basic services to all its citizens. In this regard, South Africa supports the consolidation of control of the Iraqi army over Iraq’s entire territory, and continued support for the efforts of the government to eradicate the threat posed by Da’esh.

South Africa remains concerned that an increase in assaults signals a worrying trend that Da’esh/ISIS is steadily re-emerging, which is a cause for both regional and global concern. We are pleased to learn that the Iraqi security authorities have launched a campaign to control unlicensed weapons in Baghdad and across the country’s provinces. Iraqis should not live in an atmosphere of terror and intimidation.

South Africa is pleased to note that there has been a number of arrests of leaders of the ISIS terrorist entity. We are also pleased regarding the commendable efforts by the government of Iraq to prevent missile attacks on diplomatic missions and the subsequent arrests of suspects holding them accountable by way of fair legal procedures. It is paramount to uphold standards of justice, accountability, integrity, and transparency.

Madame President,

We are encouraged by the collaborative effort of both the Governments of Kuwait and Iraq to locate missing Kuwaiti and other nationals as well as missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives. We urge both countries to work together with the relevant UN institutions to resolve these outstanding issues. We commend UNAMI for facilitating the transfer of the human remains exhumed from the al-Shaykhiya site in Iraq’s Samawah desert to Kuwait by making available its air assets.

In conclusion Madame President,

Iraq simply cannot and should not be an arena for conflict or a base point for any other country's strategy towards any of the neighboring countries, as Iraq aims to be an active player in the path of peacebuilding, achieving stability and improving security opportunities.  South Africa reiterates its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq in line with the principles of the UN Charter and continues to support UNAMI in the implementation of its mandate.

We also continue to urge the United Nations and the Government of Iraq to consider utilising the Peacebuilding Commission in order to make greater strides in rebuilding the country.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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