United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a one-day visit to Iraq, which was previously unannounced, where he met with Prime Minister Nouri Kamel al-Maliki to discuss the United Nations commitment to help the people of Iraq. The Secretary-General stressed to the Prime Minister the need to include all major political groups in the political process; the importance of upholding international human rights standards; and the United Nations commitment to move forward on the International Compact for Iraq.
Afterwards, the Secretary-General attended a luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister, at which a number of parliamentarians and leaders of Iraqi political groups were also present. He then met later in the day with some of the other Iraqi political leaders, as well as with the diplomatic corps in Baghdad.
Earlier, the Secretary-General had met with United Nations staff in Baghdad, both international and national, and listened to their concerns. He laid a wreath on the monument created in honour of the former Head of the United Nations Mission in the country, Sergio Vieira de Mello.
The Secretary-General and Prime Minister al-Maliki also held a joint press conference that day, before the Secretary-General proceeded to Cairo, Egypt, continuing his first visit to the Middle East. At the press conference, the Secretary-General discussed the work the United Nations has done in Iraq, including its help in holding elections and in the drafting of a Constitution. He added: “We are going to help the Iraqi Government in a constitutional review process and further economic and social rehabilitation, as well as humanitarian assistance.”