Remarks by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen during the Security Council meeting on UNAMI - March 3, 2020

03.03.2020 - Speech

(check against delivery)

To the topic today, I welcome the Ambassador of Iraq. Pleasure to have you here. 

We recognize, of course, the difficult situation your country is in. We heard an on the one side hopeful, but also sobering account of the SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert and I very much appreciate your report. I want to pick up your theme of hope--we can subscribe to this.

We hope first that the country will be kept out of regional tensions. After the very dangerous escalation we all witnessed in January, it is for us very important that we now have a de-escalation. And we appeal on all stakeholders inside and outside to exercise maximum restraint. Iraq must not be dragged into regional confrontation, but Iraq should be allowed really to focus on post-conflict recovery, on reconstruction, on growth and on utilizing the economic potential it has as SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert has outlined.

Talking about hope, the demonstrations we witnessed also were a sign of hope because we were witnessing that there is a very vibrant civil society. We have very many women now active in the country; we support this. We also support and appreciate all the peaceful demonstrations, but unfortunately we had to also to witness the excessive use of force. As Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert described it, it was an abhorrent human rights violation. I can only echo what was said before by her and the U.S. ambassador: the perpetrators have to be brought to justice. We cannot allow for impunity. Going back to the theme of hope. We also hope that soon there will be a new government. The responsible politicians have to overcome the political divisions in their country.

We have to overcome their political indecisiveness. The country needs a united political class. As Miss Hennis-Plasschaert has said, no Prime Minister can go it alone. Only when we have a new strong government will it be possible to reign in the criminal activities of armed groups. Many of them were responsible for the killings, for the kidnappings, for the violence against unarmed protesters and ones against journalists. So these criminal gangs have to be dismantled and reintegrated. Also, I echo what the SRSG said about the fight against corruption. It is unacceptable that this is, as she said, built into everyday politics. Also I echo the call for access of humanitarian NGOs and relief workers.

Let me end on a word of hope. If we have a new government, if there is good governance, if the new government allows the civil society to flourish, if we have an inclusive electoral process, there is hope for the country. There is hope for an economic recovery. And if the country's kept out of regional tensions, also the fight against terrorism will be successful. Also seeing the ambassador of Kuwait here, let me end by appreciating what you said about UNAMI's work on the Kuwaiti missing. It is very important that even after so many years, this work continues to be conducted. Thank you.

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