Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks at the joint press conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 22 September 2007

Today, Prime Minister Maliki and I co-chaired a meeting on Iraq. Participants included Iraq and its neighbours, the Permanent Members of the Security Council, the G8 member countries, major donors, Egypt, Bahrain, The League of Arab States, the OIC, and the EU. Most delegations were represented at the level of Foreign Minister.

There was a very positive and supportive tone from all the participants at the meeting. And there was strong Iraqi support for an enhanced UN role within the framework of the new mandate in SCR 1770. Broad areas for our future work in Iraq were outlined.

There was an emphasis by many speakers on the key UN role in helping to promote national reconciliation. Neighbouring states pledged their support for a stronger UN role in promoting regional cooperation. In this context, many speakers also stressed the need for strengthened border security.

There was clear agreement that the international community cannot turn away from or ignore Iraq. Its stability is our common concern.

Progress on the implementation of the International Compact continues in a very challenging environment. The Compact remains an important framework for mobilizing political and economic support for Iraq.

The number of Iraqi refugees and displaced persons remains a matter of serious concern. While neighbouring host countries have extended a helping hand to deal with the humanitarian crisis, their capacities are now strained to extreme levels. It remains a vital task for the Government of Iraq and the international community to ensure that adequate assistance is mobilized and delivered to those in need. The United Nations is already doing much to support and coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance, but more can be done.

The participants at the meeting also welcomed my new Special Representative, Staffan di Mistura, and appreciated the contribution made by his predecessor, Mr. Ashraf Qazi. Many called for an enlarged and more active UN role on the ground in Iraq.

We face numerous challenges in Iraq, and today it was clear that the time for determined collective action has come. This meeting has helped to promote a stronger partnership between the international community and Iraq. The United Nations is committed to supporting this partnership.