Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Briefing on Iraq, 03 March 2020

Mr President,

We thank the Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, Ms Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, for her briefing.

Iraq has been ravaged by numerous cycles of conflict, crippling sectarianism and, most destructively, the threat of ISIL. Subsequent to the military defeat of ISIL, Iraq continues to face severe security challenges as a result of violent extremism and the transnational nature of the threat.

Mr President,

The mandate of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, UNAMI, remains crucial in coordinating UN efforts to support Iraq. South Africa supports the mandate of UNAMI in support of the Government’s efforts and the electoral processes.

South Africa welcomes reforms proposed by the Government of Iraq, in order to improve governance structures and the implementation of service delivery. We further support the drive for an inclusive government which will bring together the broad spectrum of Iraqi society into governance structures. It is our view that national reconciliation and unity in Iraq is vital in order to promote lasting and sustaining peace in the country.

Mr President,

With regard to the security situation in the country, South Africa joins others in condemning the recent incidents that occurred in Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah al-Din resulting in casualties and destruction of crops. This is indicative of the deadly threat that still persists in the country which requires continued support and sustained efforts by the international community to bolster the Iraqi government’s efforts to gain full control of the security situation in the country.

Peace and security a fundamental prerequisite for Iraq to develop grow its economy, and provide basic services to all of its citizens. In this regard, South Africa supports the full consolidation of control of the Iraqi army over its territories, and the efforts of the Government to eradicate the threat posed by ISIL.

South Africa urges the continued cooperation between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government in order to promote peace and stability throughout Iraq.

On the important role of women during the political transition in Iraq, South Africa welcomes the new electoral law and the appointment of a female Chief Executive Officer of the Independent High Electoral Commission. Women in Iraq continue to play a vital role in calling for political and economic reform.

South Africa also joins the Secretary-General in encouraging the Council of Representatives to disseminate the text of the Electoral Law and to clarify all outstanding issues regarding the text.

In conclusion Mr President,

The situation in Iraq has improved substantially in the last 17 years. The country was devastated by conflict that resulted from misguided military misadventures. Today, the country is going through a period of reconstruction and development as it rebuilds itself which will require sustained support. The international community must do its part to assist Iraq on this journey while respecting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. For their part, the people of Iraq must strive for an inclusive political process that will set the country on a path to lasting peace, prosperity and development.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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