Statement by the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations during the Security Council Meeting on Iraq, 26 August 2020

Mr 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 your efforts.

Mr President,

South Africa supports the mandate of UNAMI in promoting the strengthening of the Government of Iraq and its electoral processes. We welcome the successful formation of the new Iraqi Government and applaud the inclusion of women and minorities, which will assist in unifying and strengthening the cohesiveness of the country.

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 in Iraq are vital in order to avoid future challenges stemming from shifting government policies and actions. Domestic unity, cohesion and determination are urgently needed to build resilience against narrow partisan interests, foreign interference, and criminal elements which actively seek to impede Iraq’s stability.

South Africa is pleased to learn that the Government of Iraq has agreed to resume monthly payments from its federal budget to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil. We continue to urge increased and improved cooperation between the national Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan regional government, and look forward to consensus on the issue of a revenue sharing agreement.

Mr 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.

The easing of restrictions and the failure to adhere to preventative measures, or to implement them fully, have resulted in a deterioration of the humanitarian situation. Iraq needs to adjust its COVID-19 response actions and diligently apply preventative measures for the purpose of slowing the transmission of the virus.

Mr 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. We also support the continued efforts of the government to eradicate the threat posed by Da’esh. Iraqis should not live in an atmosphere of terror and intimidation.

South Africa also expresses its deep concern regarding the killing of two civil society activists and attacks against others in the southern city of Basra. Civic activism is a cornerstone of a representative and accountable government, and must be protected. We therefore urge the authorities to pursue investigations into these horrendous attacks and bring the perpetrators to book, in order to uphold standards of justice, accountability, integrity and transparency.

Mr 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.

In conclusion Mr President,

South Africa reiterates its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq in line with the principles of the UN Charter, and we continue 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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