Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the VTC Security Council Meeting on Iraq, 12 May 2020

Mr President,

We thank the Special Representative and Head of UNAMI, Ms Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert for her insightful briefing.

South Africa supports the mandate renewal of UNAMI, in its current form, as it partners with the Government of Iraq in its post conflict reconstruction and development efforts and provides much needed humanitarian assistance throughout the country.

Mr President,

South Africa would like to commend the Government of Iraq for the actions it has taken to combat the threat of COVID-19. The pandemic, has a worse impact on countries emerging from conflict like Iraq. We appeal to the international donor community to continue providing the much-needed humanitarian assistance and medical supplies to assist the Government of Iraq as it addresses COVID-19.

One of the unfortunate negative impacts of the virus is the increased levels of domestic violence. It would be important for the Government of Iraq to ensure the protection of women, to provide the necessary support services and commit to ensuring that the perpetrators of domestic violence face the might of the law.

Regarding political developments, South Africa congratulates the Government of Iraq and its people on the election of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi. We look forward to the complete formation of a Cabinet with the hope that this will enable Iraq to: implement new programmes to improve the lives of all Iraqi citizens, to balance external relations, to safeguard Iraqi sovereignty, and to secure the return of internally displaced persons.

South Africa supports the initiative for an inclusive government which will bring together the diverse aspects of Iraqi society into governance structures. National reconciliation and unity in Iraq are vital to avoid future challenges that stem from fractured government policies and actions.

South Africa notes with appreciation the fraternal manner in which the National Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government reached an agreement on the oil production. Continued dialogue between the federal and the Kurdistan Regional governments on oil and revenue-sharing also remains essential, especially in light of the severe economic challenges. The Secretary Generals call to act now, to strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate could not be more relevant.

Mr President,

Iraq continues to face severe challenges that accelerate the spread of extremism and finds itself entwined in regional rivalries that arise out of others’ military misadventures. We wish to reiterate the Secretary Generals calls that international and regional partners must exercise restraint, pursue immediate de-escalation, support Iraq in its efforts to maintain security and stability, and prevent Iraq from becoming an arena for external conflicts.

South Africa supports the full consolidation of control of the Iraqi army over its territories, and continued support for the efforts of the Government to eradicate the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh).

Peace and security are fundamental for Iraq to develop its infrastructure, grow its economy and provide basic services to all of its citizens. South Africa wishes to highlight the success of the Peacebuilding Commission in supporting the inclusivity efforts of government, specifically in institution-building and post reconstruction development.

Mr President,

South Africa is 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 remain fortified by positive developments in this regard as reflected in the Secretary-General’s report. We urge both countries to work together with the relevant UN institutions to resolve these outstanding issues.

In conclusion Mr President,

South African 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.

South Africa echoes the sentiments of SR Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert that Iraq does not have the luxury of time. The Iraqi people must set aside their differences and join hands to build an Iraq that belongs to all its people and ensure lasting peace.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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