Senior UN officials commend decision of Iraq's al-Maliki to back his successor

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

15 August 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his envoy in Iraq welcomed Nouri al-Maliki's decision to step aside as Prime Minister and urged national political leaders to build consensus on how to address security threats and other challenges facing the country.

Mr. Ban acknowledged Mr. al-Maliki's announcement, in which he also pledged support for Haider al-Abbadi as a successor nominee, as “a demonstration of his commitment to the orderly transfer of power in the best interest of the country,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

The move paves the way for Mr. al-Abbadi to form a new Government which could address threats from the Islamic State (IS) and other armed groups.

The UN chief said he “looks forward to the swift formation of an inclusive, broad-based government,” according to the statement.

Praising Mr. al-Maliki's statesmanship, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said the decision will allow for an “historic milestone.”

In a statement from the UN Assistance Mission (UNAMI) which he heads, Mr. Mladenov called on the political blocs in Parliament and an all Iraqis “to work together to restore the unity of the country and stand-up to the threats posed by terrorism, sectarianism and division.”

There are growing concerns about human rights violations perpetrated by the armed groups, including potential genocide, against minority groups in the country.

The UN yesterday declared a “Level 3 emergency” in the country, its highest humanitarian classification.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) delivered two trucks of medicines to health officials in Dohuk, which is estimated to be enough for 30,000 people for two months.

Spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic also told journalists in Geneva that the UN agency is recruiting 50 nurses for healthcare facilities there, as well as to deploy 10 mobile clinics.

The World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners are providing food assistance for some 100,000 displaced people a day in Dahuk. In addition, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has pre-positioned 30 truckloads of relief supplies closer to areas where displaced people are arriving. With its partners and the local authorities, the UN agency delivered aid to 73,000 people, and distributed tens of thousands of high energy biscuits for children under five.

The number of people displaced in the region is still unclear, but around 80,000 people are estimated to have escaped from Sinjar Mountain after fleeing IS fighters nearly two weeks ago.

UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Dan McNorton said an additional 15,000 people from the Yazidi community were seeking refuge in Syria.

“People were exhausted, very thirsty and weak,” Mr. McNorton said. “There were very high temperatures and people had been forced to walk for many hours or days in the blistering heat, without water, without food, without shelter.”


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