Security Council Takes Action to End Iraq Sanctions, Terminate Oil-For-Food Programme as Members Recognize ‘Major Changes’ Since 1990
Security Council Takes Action to End Iraq Sanctions, Terminate Oil-For-Food Programme as Members Recognize ‘Major Changes’ Since 1990
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6450th Meeting (AM)
Security Council Takes Action to End Iraq Sanctions, Terminate Oil-For-Food
Programme as Members Recognize ‘Major Changes’ Since 1990
Recognizing that major changes had occurred in Iraq since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the Security Council today returned control of mineral exports to that country’s Government, ended the oil-for-food programme and lifted restrictions on programmes for the development of nuclear energy.
In a statement read out by Vice-President Joseph Biden of the United States, whose country holds the Council Presidency in December, members welcomed Iraq’s “important progress” in regaining the international standing it had enjoyed prior to 1990. “The Security Council welcomes the positive developments in Iraq and recognizes that the situation now existing in Iraq is significantly different from that which existed at the time of the adoption of resolution 661 (1990),” the statement said, referring to the Council decision that had paved the way for the imposition of multiple sanctions on the country.
According to the statement, the Council lifted restrictions relating to weapons of mass destruction and civilian nuclear activities in recognition of Iraq’s progress in supporting the international non-proliferation regime and other international instruments, its commitment to take further such steps and its provisional application of the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), pending its ratification.
Adopted unanimously, resolution 1957 (2010) terminated measures imposed under resolutions 687 (1991) and 707 (1991), by which Iraq was requested to destroy all weapons of mass destruction and long-range ballistic missiles, and not to acquire any nuclear weapons.
The Council also terminated the residual activities of the oil-for-food programme, which had previously allowed Iraq to purchase humanitarian supplies during the sanctions regime, in recognition of the closing out of remaining contracts entered into by the programme.
Adopting resolution 1958 (2010) on oil-for-food by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with one abstention (France), the Council authorized the Secretary-General to establish an escrow account to ensure that $20 million of the Iraq Account was retained until 31 December 2016, exclusively for the expenses of the United Nations relating to the orderly termination of the residual activities. The Council also authorized the Secretary-General to ensure the retention of up to $131 million in the Iraq Account, in escrow, to indemnify the United Nations and independent contractors for a period of six years regarding all activities in connection with oil-for-food since the programme’s inception.
The Council also terminated the Development Fund for Iraq, which channelled export income towards development priorities, in recognition of progress towards the establishment of successor arrangements. With its unanimous adoption of resolution 1956 (2010), it decided to terminate, on 30 June 2011, all arrangements for depositing into the Fund proceeds from export sales of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas. The Council affirmed that 5 per cent of petroleum export proceeds would be deposited into the Compensation Fund and called upon the Government of Iraq to finalize the full and effective transition to a post-Development Fund mechanism by or before 30 June 2011.
In its statement today, the Council welcomed the progress made by the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait towards the resolution of outstanding issues between them, and encouraged further cooperation. It also called on Iraq to quickly fulfil its remaining obligations under the relevant Chapter VII resolutions.
Also by the statement, the Council supported the inclusive political process and power-sharing agreement reached by Iraq’s leaders, following the parliamentary election of 7 March 2010. It encouraged Iraqi leaders “to continue to pursue a federal, democratic, pluralistic and unified Iraq based on the rule of law and respect for human rights”.
The statement reaffirmed the need to combat all forms of terrorism in Iraq and underscored the role of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in helping to create conditions conducive to the return of displaced persons and the promotion of dialogue. It called on all Iraqi parties to participate in an inclusive dialogue to negotiate an agreement on disputed internal boundaries.
With 10 Council members represented at the ministerial level or above, and with Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, representing his country, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the morning’s discussion, saying: “This meeting is a milestone for Iraq. Today we recognize how far the country has come in key aspects of its journey to normalize its status in the community of Nations.” He urged Iraqi leaders to follow through on their power-sharing agreements, to continue making domestic progress and to normalize its international relations, pledging continued United Nations support in all those areas.
Foreign Minister Zebari, emphasizing that “the new Iraq is significantly different from Saddam’s Iraq”, pledged that his country would continue to work for a stable and prosperous future for itself and the region, but it still needed international support. In the process leading up to the recent power-sharing agreements, all political blocs had agreed to build a State and institutions on the basis of participation and inclusion based on the consolidation of national reconciliation and an independent judiciary, he said.
Following his remarks, officials representing Council members took the floor to congratulate Iraq on its progress towards democratization, welcoming its assumption of responsibility for self-governance and security. Most urged all political factions to form the partnership Government as soon as possible in order to deal with security issues, and to work for reconciliation and the peaceful resolution of outstanding domestic issues such as demarcation of internal borders.
Most speakers also urged Iraq to continue to cooperate with Kuwait in settling outstanding issues such as missing persons, and to continue to improve relations with other neighbours while working with them to create a stable and prosperous region. While all speakers welcomed the lifting of sanctions, some delegates, including the representative of the Russian Federation, stressed the expectation that Iraq would promptly ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement. The harmonization of national law regarding export control of dual-use items should also be finalized, he added.
At the outset of the meeting, Vice-President Biden paid tribute to United States diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who passed away on Monday. He closed the meeting by affirming that the “dark era of Saddam Hussein is now over”.
Also speaking were Vice-President Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya of Uganda; Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey; Sven Alkalaj, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Paul Toungui, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon.
Other speakers were the Vice-Minister for Political Affairs of Brazil; the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria; the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom; and the Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Japan.
Representatives of China, Mexico, Lebanon, France and Nigeria also delivered statements.
The meeting began at 11:18 a.m. and ended at 1:34 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2010/27 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Iraq, and emphasizes the importance of the stability and security of Iraq for its people, the region, and the international community.
“The Security Council supports the inclusive political process and power-sharing agreement reached by Iraq’s leaders to form a representative national partnership government that reflects the will of the Iraqi people as displayed by the parliamentary election of 7 March 2010. We encourage its leaders to continue to pursue a federal, democratic, pluralistic and unified Iraq based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.
“The Security Council reaffirms the need to combat all forms of terrorism and that no terrorist act can reverse a path towards peace, democracy, and reconstruction in Iraq, which is supported by its people, the Government of Iraq, and the international community.
“The Security Council welcomes the positive developments in Iraq and recognizes that the situation now existing in Iraq is significantly different from that which existed at the time of the adoption of resolution 661 (1990). Consistent with resolution 1859 (2008), the Security Council also welcomes the important progress Iraq has made in regaining the international standing it held prior to the adoption of resolution 661 (1990). In recognition of Iraq’s progress in supporting the international non-proliferation regime and complying with disarmament treaties and other relevant international instruments, its commitment to taking additional steps in this regard, and its provisional application of the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), pending its ratification, the Security Council has adopted resolution 1957 (2010) which lifts the restrictions imposed by resolutions 687 and 707 relating to weapons of mass destruction and civilian nuclear activities. In recognition of Iraq’s success in closing out remaining contracts in the Oil-for-Food program, the Council has also adopted resolution 1958 (2010) to terminate the residual activities of the Oil-For-Food program. And in recognition of Iraq’s progress towards the establishment of effective and accountable successor arrangements for the transition of the Development Fund for Iraq, the Security Council has adopted resolution 1956 (2010), which terminates arrangements for the Development Fund for Iraq on June 30, 2011. Welcoming the progress made by the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait towards the resolution of the outstanding issues between both countries, and encouraging their further cooperation, the Security Council calls on Iraq to quickly fulfill its remaining obligations under the relevant Chapter VII Security Council resolutions pertaining to the situation between Iraq and Kuwait.
“The Security Council welcomes Iraq’s reintegration into the region and encourages Iraq and all regional states to deepen and broaden their relationships and to conduct those relationships in a spirit of partnership and cooperation.
“The Security Council reaffirms its full support for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in advising, supporting, and assisting the Iraqi people and Government to strengthen democratic institutions, advance inclusive dialogue and national reconciliation, facilitate regional dialogue, aid vulnerable groups, strengthen gender equality, promote the protection of human rights, including through the establishment of the Independent High Commission for Human Rights, promote the protection of affected civilians, including children, women and members of religious and ethnic minority groups, and promote judicial and legal reform.
“The Security Council commends UNAMI, headed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, for its support throughout the electoral process, consistent with its mandate.
“The Security Council encourages UNAMI’s continued work, in coordination with the Government of Iraq, to provide protection and help create conditions conducive to voluntary, safe, dignified, and in particular, the sustainable return of Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons, and stresses the importance of further attention to this issue by all concerned.
“The Security Council underscores UNAMI’s important role in supporting the Iraqi people and Government to promote dialogue, ease tension, and encourage a negotiated political agreement to the nation’s disputed internal boundaries, and calls upon all relevant parties to participate in an inclusive dialogue to this end.”
The full text of resolution 1956 (2010) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Noting the letter from the Prime Minister of Iraq to the President of the Security Council, dated 8 December 2010, which is annexed to this resolution,
“Recognizing the positive developments in Iraq and that the situation now existing in Iraq is significantly different from that which existed at the time of the adoption of resolution 661 (1990), recognizing that Iraqi institutions are strengthening, and further recognizing the importance of Iraq achieving international standing equal to that which it held prior to the adoption of resolution 661 (1990),
“Welcomes the letter from the Prime Minister of Iraq which reaffirms the commitment by the Government of Iraq not to request any further extensions of the Development Fund for Iraq arrangements; and recognizing that the letter from the Prime Minister of Iraq also reaffirms the commitment by the Government to ensure that oil revenue would continue to be used fairly and in the interests of the Iraqi people, and that transition arrangements would be in keeping with the constitution and with international best practices in respect of transparency, accountability and integrity,
“Recognizing the significant role of the Development Fund for Iraq and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, and the provisions of paragraphs 20 and 22 of resolution 1483 (2003) in helping the Government of Iraq to ensure that Iraq’s resources are being used transparently and accountably for the benefit of the Iraqi people, and stressing also the need for Iraq to finalize transition to successor arrangements for the Development Fund for Iraq and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board.
“Acting under chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Decides to terminate, on 30 June 2011, the arrangements established in paragraph 20 of resolution 1483 (2003) for depositing into the Development Fund for Iraq proceeds from export sales of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas and the arrangements referred to in paragraph 12 of resolution 1483 (2003) and paragraph 24 of resolution 1546 (2004) for the monitoring of the Development Fund for Iraq by the International Advisory and Monitoring Board and further decides that, subject to the exception provided for in paragraph 27 of resolution 1546 (2004), the provisions of paragraph 22 of resolution 1483 (2003) shall continue to apply until that date, including with respect to funds and financial assets and economic resources described in paragraph 23 of that resolution;
“2. Welcomes and affirms the Government of Iraq’s decision not to request any further extensions of the Development Fund for Iraq arrangements; and further decides this is the final extension of the Development Fund for Iraq arrangements;
“3. Decides that after 30 June 2011, the requirement established in paragraph 20 of UNSCR 1483 (2003) that all proceeds from export sales of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas from Iraq be deposited into the Development Fund for Iraq shall no longer apply, and affirms that the requirement established in paragraph 21 of UNSCR 1483 (2003) that 5 percent of the proceeds from all export sales of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas shall be deposited into the compensation fund established in accordance with resolution 687 (1991), and subsequent resolutions, shall continue to apply, and further decides that 5 percent of the value of any non-monetary payments of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas made to service providers shall be deposited into the compensation fund, and that unless the Government of Iraq and the governing council of the United Nations Compensation Commission, in the exercise of its authority over methods of ensuring that payments are made into the compensation fund, decide otherwise, the above requirements shall be binding on the Government of Iraq;
“4. Calls upon the Government of Iraq to work closely with the Secretary-General to finalize the full and effective transition to a post-Development Fund mechanism by or before 30 June 2011, which takes into account IMF stand-by arrangement requirements, includes external auditing arrangements and ensures that Iraq will continue to meet its obligations as established in the provisions of paragraph 21 of resolution 1483 (2003); further requests that the Government of Iraq provide a written report to the council no later than 1 May 2011 on progress towards the transition to a post-Development Fund mechanism;
“5. Directs the transfer of the full proceeds from the Development Fund for Iraq to the Government of Iraq’s successor arrangements account or accounts and the termination of the Development Fund for Iraq no later than 30 June 2011 and requests written confirmation to the Council once the transfer and termination are completed;
“6. Requests the Secretary-General to provide written reports on an ongoing basis to the council every six months, with the first report due no later than 1 January 2012, about the United Nations compensation fund, evaluating the continued compliance with the provisions of paragraph 21 of resolution 1483 (2003);
“7. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
The full text of resolution 1957 (2010) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions on the situation in Iraq,
“Recalling the statement of its President of 26 February 2010 which welcomed Iraq’s progress on compliance with non-proliferation and disarmament commitments,
“Recognizing the importance of Iraq achieving international standing equal to that which it held prior to the adoption of resolution 661,
“Welcoming the letter sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq on 18 January 2010 which confirms that the Government of Iraq supports the international non-proliferation regime and complies with disarmament treaties and other relevant international instruments and is committed to taking additional steps in this regard to comply with non-proliferation and disarmament standards, and has also committed to inform the Security Council, IAEA and other relevant agencies on progress made towards implementing those measures in accordance with the Government of Iraq’s constitutional and legislative procedures and in compliance with international norms and obligations,
“Welcoming the 11 March 2010 letter sent by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which notes that the Agency has been receiving excellent cooperation from Iraq in the implementation of its comprehensive safeguards agreement, and proceeding on the basis of the Government of Iraq’s decision to provisionally apply, as of 17 February 2010, the Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement pending the Protocol’s entry into force,
“Welcoming Iraq’s accession to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, becoming the 186th State party on 12 February 2009,
“Welcoming that Iraq has subscribed to the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, becoming the 131st state to do so on 11 August 2010,
“Welcoming that Iraq signed in 2008 the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA and that the Additional Protocol is currently before Parliament for approval, as is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and welcoming that Iraq has agreed to apply the Additional Protocol provisionally, pending ratification,
“Reaffirming the importance of the ratification by Iraq as soon as possible of the Additional Protocol,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Chapter of the United Nations,
“1. Decides to terminate the weapons of mass destruction, missile, and civil nuclear-related measures imposed by paragraphs 8, 9, 10, 12 and 13 of resolution 687 (1991) and paragraph 3 (f) of resolution 707 (1991); and as reaffirmed in subsequent relevant resolutions;
“2. Urges Iraq to ratify the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as soon as possible;
“3. Decides also to review in one year’s time progress made by Iraq on its commitment to ratify the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and meet its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council in this regard;
“4. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
The full text of resolution 1958 (2010) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions on the situation in Iraq, in particular resolutions 986, 1472, 1476, 1483, and 1546, and the Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 5 of resolution 1859 (2008),
“Recalling the need for the “Oil-for-food” Program (hereinafter “the Program”) established under resolution 986 (1995) as a temporary measure to provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people,
“Recognizing the importance of Iraq achieving international standing equal to that which it held prior to the adoption of resolution 661,
“Recognizing the importance of the activities of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Coordinator’s office established pursuant to resolution 1284 (1999),
“Recalling the Secretary-General’s letter, dated 8 December 2010 and the Note attached thereto, S/2010/619, the third report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 3 of resolution 1905 (2009), S/2010/563, and the third quarterly report of the Government of Iraq pursuant to paragraph 5 of resolution 1905 (2009), S/2010/567,
“Noting the letter from the Government of Iraq to the President of the Security Council, dated 6 December 2010,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Requests the Secretary-General to take all actions necessary to terminate all residual activities under the Program, noting that all letters of credit with outstanding claims of delivery, listed in Annex 1 to the Secretary-General’s Note, dated 8 December 2010, S/2010/619, have expired according to their terms and that no confirmation of arrival will be provided by the Government of Iraq and are closed for all purposes under the Program, including for purposes of transferring the funds associated with such letters of credit from the collateral portion of the Iraq Account to the non-collateral portion of the Iraq Account, without prejudice to any rights or claims that the suppliers with claims of delivery may have for payment, or otherwise, against the Government of Iraq under their respective commercial contracts with the Government of Iraq;
“2. Notes the Government of Iraq’s provision of certificates of arrival on file with the United Nations as of 15 December 2010, for which payment has not been effected either as a result of the advising bank not being able to locate the relevant beneficiaries or as a result of the beneficiary not providing requisite documentation, as referenced in the Secretary-General’s Note, dated 8 December 2010, paragraphs 11 and 12 and Annexes II and III, and calls upon the Government of Iraq to provide without delay direct payment if contacted by the beneficiaries or its representatives;
“3. Authorizes the Secretary-General to establish an escrow account for the purposes of paragraphs 4 and 5 of this resolution, to appoint independent and certified public accountants to audit it, and to keep the Government of Iraq fully informed;
“4. Authorizes the Secretary-General to ensure that 20 million United States dollars of the Iraq Account are retained in the escrow account until 31 December 2016, exclusively for the expenses of the United Nations related to the orderly termination of the residual activities of the Program, including the Organization’s support to member State investigations and member State proceedings related to the Program, and the expenses of the high-level coordinator’s office created pursuant to resolution 1284 and further requests that all remaining funds are to be transferred to the Government of Iraq by 31 December 2016;
“5. Authorizes the Secretary-General to ensure that up to 131 million United States dollars of the Iraq Account are retained in the escrow account for the purpose of providing indemnification to the United Nations, its representatives, agents, and independent contractors for a period of six years with regard to all activities in connection with the Program since its inception, and further requests that all remaining funds are to be transferred to the Government of Iraq by 31 December 2016;
“6. Authorizes the Secretary-General to facilitate the transfer as soon as possible of all funds remaining, beyond those retained for the purposes of paragraphs 4 and 5, from the Iraq Account created pursuant to paragraph 16 (d) of resolution 1483 (2003) to the Development Fund of Iraq;
“7. Requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary actions to ensure the effective implementation of this resolution and to enter into all necessary implementing arrangements or agreements as soon as possible with the Government of Iraq:
“(a) to provide appropriate indemnification, as referenced in paragraph 5, to the United Nations, its representatives, agents, and independent contractors, with regard to all activities in connection with the Program since its inception and
“(b) to provide for a waiver of any future claims the Government of Iraq may have against the United Nations, its representatives, agents, and independent contractors with regard to all activities in connection with the Program since its inception, as referenced in paragraphs 19, 20, and 21 in S/2008/492, and requests him to report to the Council when he has done so;
“8. Requests the Secretary-General to report and provide analysis to the Council on the usage and expenditure of the escrow account referenced in paragraphs 4 and 5 on an annual basis, the first no later than 31 March 2012, with the final report occurring three months after the transfer of any remaining funds retained for the purposes of paragraphs 4 and 5 to the Government of Iraq by 31 December 2016, unless otherwise authorized by the Security Council;
“9. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
As the Security Council took up the situation in Iraq this morning, members had before them the report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 6 of resolution 1936 (2010), which provides an update on United Nations activities in the country since his last report of 29 July (document S/2010/406) and covers key political developments and regional and international events concerning Iraq, as well as operational and security matters.
In the report (document S/2010/606), the Secretary-General acknowledges that Iraq will remain a challenging operating environment in the foreseeable future, recalling the recent attack on his Special Representative’s convoy near Najaf and citing increased attacks in Kirkuk and Bagdad as “stark reminders” of the dangers faced by United Nations personnel every day.
Congratulating President Jalal Talabani on his re-election and Osama al-Nujaifi on his election as Speaker, the Secretary-General underscores the need for agreement on other key Government posts and ministerial portfolios, as well as on the adoption of a national programme to give Iraqis hope for the future. Agreements reached by the main political blocs show how leaders can cooperate and serve the collective interest of Iraqis, he notes. “This is a powerful signal for the future direction of the country and I hope it will give the leaders a new impetus to resolve the many political, socio-economic and security challenges facing the country.”
According to the report, the security situation continues to affect the civilian population, mostly through acts of insurgent and extremist terrorism, as well as violence perpetrated by criminal gangs, but also by counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism operations. Targeted assassinations also persist, the report says, adding that the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) notes with concern an increase in reported incidents of harassment and intimidation against internally displaced persons in Kirkuk. While violence is sharply lower than the levels witnessed during 2006 and 2007, armed groups, including Al-Qaida in Iraq, remain active.
The report goes on to state that the withdrawal of United States forces is likely to have a short- to medium-term effect on the security situation as the central Government attempts to assert itself over the security situation. Due to the frequency of attacks, UNAMI has temporarily downsized its staff until new security mitigation measures are in place. The Mission has identified and started to implement alternative arrangements in order to operate more independently. That would only be possible with strong financial support from Member States on the basis of proposals put forward as part of UNAMI’s budget submission for 2011.
Recalling that the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) announced a unilateral ceasefire on 13 August, which was renewed on 1 November, the report says UNAMI has continued its active engagement in facilitating and supporting dialogue between the Arab and Kurdish sides in Ninewa Governorate, with a view to ending a boycott of the Provincial Council by the Ninewa Fraternal List, a local Kurdish party. A Committee on Ethnic and Religious Communities was established in Mosul.
The report says that despite the delay in the formation of a Government, the United Nations has continued to focus on key national development initiatives. The Government endorsed a “road map for State-owned enterprise restructuring”, which represents the start of the “most significant reform after seven years of instability”. As of 30 September, the portfolio of the United Nations Development Group Iraq Trust Fund stood at $1.43 billion. Accelerating the pace of development and reconstruction, as articulated in the National Development Plan, will be another priority concern. “The formation of a new Government will mean very little to ordinary Iraqis unless they begin to see tangible improvements in their lives, particularly in the delivery of essential services and the creation of new job opportunities,” the Secretary-General observes.
Some 2,000 new Iraqis are registered with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the region each month, the majority in Syria, the report notes. In September, about 1,300 refugee returns were recorded, the lowest figure for 2010. Ongoing violence and the lack of employment opportunities and public services have been cited as reasons for the slower rate of return and further displacements. Together with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNAMI has supported preparations for a planned nationwide census, the technical preparations for which were completed by 22 September and endorsed by the International Technical Advisory Board for Iraq Census.
According to the report, the Secretary-General hopes the new Government will expeditiously fulfil its outstanding obligations arising from Council resolutions, particularly issues relating to the return of missing Kuwaiti nationals and property. He encourages Iraq to reaffirm its commitment to Council resolution 833 (1993), regarding its land and maritime boundary, as an important confidence-building measure.
The Secretary-General strongly encourages regional neighbours to make it a priority to engage the new Government in addressing issues of mutual concern, welcoming in that regard the decision by Iraq and Syria to restore full diplomatic relations. The Saudi Arabian initiative in support of the process of Government formation and reconciliation is also a welcome signal, he says, adding: “Such positive engagement will contribute to greater stability, not only in Iraq but in the region as a whole.”
Also before the Council was the third report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 3 of resolution 1905 (2009) (document S/2010/563); a letter dated 9 December from the Permanent Representative of the United States addressed to the Secretary-General (document S/2010/621); a letter dated 9 December from the Permanent Representative of Iraq addressed to the President of the Security Council (document S/2010/625); and a letter dated 8 December from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council (document S/2010/619).
Council President JOSEPH BIDEN, speaking in his capacity as Vice-President of the United States, said Iraqi forces were now in charge of security, with the United States transforming its combat mission into a civilian-led presence engaged in providing advice and assistance. Violence had reached its lowest level since 2003.
Last month’s agreement on a new Government would not marginalize anyone as it was made in Iraq, by Iraqis, he said, urging all parties to abide by the accords. The United States would continue to forge an enduring partnership with Iraq across a range of sectors and in accordance with agreements reached, he said, urging other nations also to share their expertise with the country.
Recalling the sacrifices made for Iraq’s progress, notably the 2003 bombing of United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, he said the spirit of such sacrifices lived on in those helping the country forge a better future. He expressed appreciation for all who had contributed, including UNAMI staff, who were risking their lives while displaying incredible talent, dedication and devotion, stressing that their mission was as important as it had ever been.
While terrorism and other challenges continued, Iraq’s best days lay ahead, he asserted. The country deserved to take its rightful place among other nations and for that reason, the United States supported the Council decisions taken today. Urging the international community to continue to help Iraq resolve remaining issues in its compliance with Council expectations, he said the country was on the cusp of “something remarkable”, and all had an interest in its becoming a stable and self-reliant nation.
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: “This meeting is a milestone for Iraq. Today we recognize how far the country has come in key aspects of its journey to normalize its status in the community of nations.” Outlining the steps Iraq had taken to show its commitment to remaining free of weapons of mass destruction, including its signing up to key international agreements, he said such steps boded well for security and development, both in Iraq and in the wider region. Regarding the end of residual activities under the “oil-for-food” programme, he pledged that the United Nations would do its part to bring closure to that long-running, complex and unprecedented initiative.
Commending Iraq’s leaders for ending months of political deadlock, he urged the various political blocs to honour their agreements and move swiftly to conclude the process. He also outlined the challenges that the new Government would have to overcome and pledged that the United Nations was prepared to do its part to support its efforts while promoting peace in the region. He also expressed hope that all remaining issues between Iraq and Kuwait would be resolved in a cooperative manner.
He said UNAMI would continue to promote political dialogue, provide constitutional support, monitor human rights, deliver humanitarian assistance to Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons, help build electoral institutions and encourage a negotiated political agreement on disputed internal boundaries. The United States military drawdown would have major security implications for the United Nations presence, he said, noting that it was receiving more assistance from the host country, but would continue to need strong political and financial support from Member States.
While Iraq’s development needs were considerable, its development vision should also encompass its magnificent history and its contemporary environment, he said, expressing appreciation for the contributions and sacrifices of all those who had helped the country through its troubled times. He also paid tribute to the resilience of Iraqis, cautioning, however, that there would be more hurdles ahead. The United Nations would continue to stand with Iraqis as an impartial partner, determined to help them find, once and for all, the path of prosperity and peace, he pledged.
HOSHYAR ZEBARI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq, said the political exchange and discussions on the new Government would be completed imminently. It would be a “power-sharing, representative and inclusive Government that reflects the will of the Iraqi people, as displayed by the parliamentary elections of 7 March”. The Government would be announced “very soon”, he added.
Noting that months of political stalemate had seen regional activities intended to impact on the Government-formation process, he said the Iraqi people totally rejected interference by others in their internal affairs. Iraq would host the upcoming Arab Summit in March 2011, which would be a clear signal of its embrace of fellow Arab countries.
Iraq had made great strides towards meeting its international commitments, he said, adding that the key focus had been to unburden the country of its heavy legacy of non-compliance with international law, and to regain its rightful place among the community of nations. Iraq had made significant progress in its obligations relating to the standards of disarmament and non-proliferation. The lifting of the restrictions imposed by resolutions 687 (1990) and 707 (1991) was a sign that “the new Iraq is significantly different from Saddam’s Iraq at the time of the adoption of resolution 661 in 1990”.
Iraq had also worked very hard towards completely closing down “oil-for-food”, he said, noting that the programme had been marred by a web of mismanagement and misappropriation. Its termination lifted another burden on Iraq’s recovery. The Government had also made significant advances in developing arrangements to replace the Development Fund for Iraq and the International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB), as well concrete progress on the settlement of sovereign debts and commercial claims.
“The adoption of these important resolutions marks the beginning of the end of the sanctions regime and restrictions on Iraq’s sovereignty, independence and recovery,” he said. “Our people will rejoice for having turned a chapter on the aggressive, belligerent and defiant behaviour of the previous regime towards international law and legitimacy.” Pointing out that Iraq still had some way to go in resolving all outstanding issues with its “brotherly neighbour”, Kuwait, he said: “My country is committed to fulfil its remaining obligations under relevant Chapter VII Security Council resolutions pertaining to the situation between Iraq and Kuwait.”
Iraq still faced tremendous challenges while continuing to confront terrorism and criminal elements bent on destabilizing the country, he said. “Despite remarkable progress in this fight for our peace and security, there are still attempts to revive sectarian, ethnic and religious strife, such as the recent atrocities against Iraqi Christians.” The greatest challenge remained building the State and its institutions on the basis of participation and inclusion, the consolidation of national reconciliation and an independent judiciary. All political blocs had agreed on those principles, he stressed.
The economic situation had greatly improved thanks to a series of Government-issued economic, financial and investment regulations, he said. It had brought qualified international expertise to improve the productivity and export capacity of the oil and gas sector, and the Council of Representatives would ratify the a hydrocarbon law as soon as possible. The Government had carried out an ambitious budget for 2010 in addition to having launched a five-year national development plan for 2010-2014. Pending ratification, the 2011 federal budget was dedicated to sustaining the momentum of economic improvement, he said.
Aware that issues of human rights, internally displaced Iraqis and refugees were of concern to the international community, the Government was taking proactive measures to address them, he said. The improved security situation and the Government’s efforts to provide an environment for the safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons had encouraged a significant number of voluntary returns by displaced Iraqis. “We firmly believe that this is the solution as Iraq needs the capacity of all its sons and daughters to contribute towards building the future for our country,” he emphasized.
“Iraq is a country blessed with rich natural and human resources, however we continue to need international cooperation and support to progress towards a stable, peaceful and prosperous future,” he said in conclusion. “A democratic, sovereign Iraq that lives in peace and security with its people and its neighbours will be a positive factor in the stability and security of our region, and reflect positively on Iraq’s Arab and international relations as Iraq contributes as a responsible and rightful member of the international community.”
GILBERT BALIBASEKA BUKENYA, Vice-President of Uganda, said it was important that the Prime Minister form a Government expeditiously to facilitate national cohesion and foster democratic governance. Welcoming Iraq’s progress in complying with its non-proliferation and disarmament commitments, he encouraged it to ratify the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Uganda also commended the Government’s commitment to finalizing arrangements to provide appropriate funding for indemnification under the oil-for-food programme.
He said the challenges ahead included the threats of insecurity and terrorist attacks; ensuring the safe return of refugees and the resettlement of internally displaced persons; and resolving disputed internal boundaries. It was essential in that regard that Iraqi leaders work together to ensure political stability, peace and development, he emphasized. Because stability in Iraq was inextricably linked to regional stability, he encouraged the strengthening of cooperation with neighbouring countries on the basis of the mutual desire to respond to security concerns and bolster economic cooperation. Iraq would continue to require international support, he said, calling upon development partners and the international community to align their support to the country’s priorities and programmes, particularly in building the capacities of its national institutions.
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, said that after decades of turmoil, strife and suffering, Iraq was at a critical moment, with bright prospects and many challenges. By seizing opportunities and making the right choices, Iraqi leaders now had within their grasp the chance to make a clean break from the infighting of the past and shape a prosperous future. Fundamental political concepts like inclusiveness, national reconciliation and partnership would remain crucial for ensuring a political framework in which democracy, human rights and the rule of law would irreversibly take root, he said. It was also vital to alter gradually both the perception and language of politics from a basis of ethnicity and religion to one defined by political parties and blocs.
While welcoming the accord reached by political groups, he expressed regret that Iraq had undergone an eight-month-long political impasse that had delayed long-needed economic and comprehensive reconstruction programmes. It was now crucial to complete the political process with the establishment of a representative, democratic and effective national partnership Government that rested on power-sharing arrangements. All segments of Iraqi society should participate in the process and in an inclusive political dialogue, he stressed. Important challenges for the new Government included the census, disputed internal boundaries, hydrocarbon and revenue-sharing laws and constitutional amendments.
The challenges cut across all segments of Iraqi society, regardless of ethnic, sectarian or religious affiliations, he emphasized, adding that their peaceful resolution therefore required a national consensus. While violence had dropped significantly in recent months, there was a need to bolster efforts to rebuild the security forces, with the international community continuing to provide support for raising the competency of Iraq’s people in uniform. By virtue of the resolutions adopted today, Iraq was taking major strides towards becoming a nation no longer restricted by Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, he noted. However, such issues as border demarcation, compensation and missing persons and archives pertaining to the invasion of Kuwait remained to be addressed, he said, expressing confidence that the new Government would continue to take the necessary actions to cement stability and work with regional and international partners to further enhance security on a larger scale.
SVEN ALKALAJ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, acknowledged a significant improvement in the overall situation of Iraq, but expressed his continuing deep concern about security, strongly condemning recent attacks on religious communities. He urged all actors in Iraq to redouble efforts to protect civilians and bring the perpetrators of horrible crimes to justice. Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed the agreements on the formation of a new Government and paid tribute to the Iraqi people for their strength and firm determination to build a democratic and unified country despite immense suffering.
Noting that he had based his support for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq’s accession to international treaties, adherence to contractual obligations and other positive steps, he expressed his strong belief that the national Parliament would place a high priority on ratification of the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. Bosnia and Herzegovina also expected Iraq to fulfil its remaining obligations relating to Kuwait, he said, adding that the settlement of its land and maritime boundary would also be priorities in the coming period. Strongly welcoming the development of cooperation and partnerships with other States in the region, he reiterated the importance of facilitating the return of refugees and displaced persons, and expressed his strong support for the work of UNAMI in that area as well as others.
PAUL TOUNGUI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, welcomed the Iraqi people’s efforts to build democracy and reconciliation, including their widespread participation in elections and recent power-sharing agreements. Iraq must now assume its full responsibilities as a sovereign State, he said, welcoming in that context the drawdown of United States forces, the plan to transform the Development Fund for Iraq and the termination of the oil-for-food programme. He paid also tribute to UNAMI and called on the international community to continue to support Iraq’s efforts in favour of stability and democracy.
VERA MACHADO, Vice-Minister for Political Affairs of Brazil, urged all political leaders to ensure the formation of a broad-based Government of national unity, with UNAMI’s continuing assistance. Strongly condemning all forms of violence, including terrorism, she said the courage and resilience with which the Iraqi people had faced much suffering since 2003 must be recognized. Brazil recognized the importance of Iraq achieving an international status equal to that it had held prior to the adoption of resolution 661 (1990), she said, adding that Iraq’s future should be determined by the Iraqis themselves.
She said her country had profoundly deplored the 2003 military action, particularly the fact that it had been carried out without the Council’s express authorization. “The painful experience of the war in Iraq should lead the international community t reflect on the importance of upholding the United Nations Charter when it comes to contemplating military action and the resort to Chapter VII measures,” she emphasized. The time was ripe to bring a formal end to those measures, thus paving the way for the normalization of Iraq’s relations with the United Nations and its full reintegration into the family of nations. Normalization of Iraq’s relations with all its neighbours, Kuwait in particular, was essential.
Describing security in Iraq as one of the pillars of stability in the Middle East, she said once it was sufficiently improved, a safe return of Iraqi refugees must be assured. More must also be done in relation to the repatriation and return of all Kuwaiti missing persons or their remains, she said, adding that issues such as border demarcation, property and compensation should also be resolved. The international community must continue to support Iraq, she stressed, announcing that Brazil would be the first Latin-American country to re-open its embassy in Baghdad. The United Nations could continue to contribute by facilitating dialogue, defusing tensions and bridging differences among the various Iraqi political forces. UNAMI should have adequate resources to play its role, including ensuring its own safety and security, she said, adding that a special account for the Mission should therefore be considered.
JOHANNES KYRLE, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria, said that in light of Iraq’s commitment to non-proliferation and disarmament, he hoped it would soon ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement. Austria also expected the destruction of chemical weapons to continue at a determined pace. It was also to be hoped that Iraq would be freshly resolved to forge a new partnership with Kuwait, he said, encouraging Iraq to reaffirm its commitment to resolution 833 (1993) on its land and maritime boundaries. Efforts should be made to clarify the fate of missing persons and to settle the issue of Kuwait’s national archives.
Pressing remaining challenges required determined stewardship, he continued, recalling that European Union Foreign Ministers had underlined on 22 November the urgent need to form a stable and representative Government able to rededicate itself to the pursuit of national reconciliation. Such a Government would be vital in responding to the aspirations of all Iraqis — regardless of creed or ethnicity — and in ensuring respect for, as well as the protection and promotion of, their human rights. Austria also hoped to see renewed resolve on the part of a new federal Government and the leadership of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region to reach a compromise on boundaries, competencies and revenue distribution.
Condemning all indiscriminate attacks on civilians, he reiterated his country’s deep concern about recent attacks on religious minorities. He urged the Government to bring the perpetrators to justice and to ensure that all Iraqis were adequately protected and able to practise their faith in peace and dignity. Austria was also concerned about reported incidents of harassment and intimidation of internally displaced persons in Kirkuk, including threats of forced eviction, he said.
ALISTAIR BURT, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, underscored the importance of the current period for Iraq, and urged all political factions to work together for a stable, inclusive and democratic State. The new Government would continue to face challenges and reconciliation would be an essential part of overcoming them. Commending the United Nations for facilitating talks in many areas, he urged the new Government to address domestic challenges, such as internal boundaries, as a matter of priority, with United Nations support as appropriate.
Condemning recent attacks on places of worship, he welcomed Iraq’s efforts to protect vulnerable minorities, particularly Christians, a “uniquely vulnerable group”. Iraq had much to offer, both in the region and internationally, and the United Kingdom welcomed its normalization of relations with Syria. It also expected the continuing normalization of relations with Kuwait and cooperation on all outstanding issues between the two countries, he said, extending congratulations to Iraq on moving in the right direction despite the many challenges it faced. In light of its long, historic relations with Iraq, the United Kingdom also extended its wishes for a bright future.
HISASHI TOKUNAGA, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said political stability was most important for Iraq and expressed hope for the early formation of a Government through an inclusive process encompassing all ethnic groups and supported by the international community. The new Government must continue its efforts to improve the security situation on the ground, he stressed. Acknowledging that Iraq had changed drastically since 2003, he expressed support for its Government’s aspiration to achieve an international standing equal to that it had enjoyed before the first Gulf War.
In order to encourage the Iraqi people to continue on their course of democratization, Japan supported fully the resolutions and presidential statement adopted today, he said, expressing hope that the new Government would continue to work with Kuwait in seeking solutions to outstanding issues between the two countries. The international community should continue to support peacebuilding, under Iraqi ownership, he said. Japan had almost completed the implementation of $5 billion worth of assistance programmes focused on livelihoods and security. It had also approved debt relief amounting to $6.7 billion, he said, adding that his country would work closely with the Iraqi private sector in support of efforts to rebuild the economy.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said today’s adoption of the three resolutions lifting the majority of Chapter VII restrictions had been possible due to the joint efforts of the Iraqi authorities and the Council. However, the Iraqi people still had much to do in building a stable, united and democratic State that respected human rights and lived in harmony with its neighbours. Armed groups remained active amid persistent ethnic and religious friction. Although Iraqi political forces had achieved agreement, the urgent challenge now was to avoid delaying the final formation of a Government on the basis of partnership, he said, adding that the implementation of remaining Chapter VII obligations would be assessed at a later date.
The international community expected Iraq promptly to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, he continued. The harmonization of national law relating to control over dual-use items should also be finalized. He called for unconditional observance of the integrity of the Iraq-Kuwait border and for stepped up efforts to resolve questions relating to Kuwaiti missing persons and archives. With the withdrawal of foreign military forces, UNAMI’s role would increase, he said, expressing hope that the Mission would continue to work with leaders of the parliamentary caucuses on amendments to the constitution and the upcoming census. It was incumbent on the Iraqi authorities to ensure the important issue of security for Mission personnel, he stressed.
LI BAODONG ( China) said the overall situation in Iraq was stabilizing and the international community was increasingly confident in the country’s future. China supported the Iraqi people in autonomously determining their own future and hoped all parties would work to foster national reconciliation while striving for the expeditious formation of a Government. Expressing supporting for Iraq’s aspiration for complete reintegration into the international community, he welcomed today’s adoption of resolutions lifting Chapter VII measures and said he hoped Iraq would seize the opportunity to speed up peaceful reconstruction while contributing to regional peace and stability.
Iraq continued to be confronted with a complex security situation, he noted, condemning recent terrorist attacks and expressing hope for the strengthening of the national security forces. China encouraged Iraq to enhance its dialogue with regional neighbours and hoped it would soon find solutions to outstanding issues. UNAMI had played an important role in Iraq’s political process and peaceful reconstruction, he said, adding that he hoped to see continuing and effective cooperation between the Mission and the Government. China called on all sides to provide a safe environment for UNAMI and for other United Nations personnel and property.
YANERIT CRISTINA MORGAN SOTOMAYOR (Mexico) said the decisions adopted this morning confirmed that Iraq had retaken its place in the community of nations, after a long period. That demonstrated the primacy of the United Nations in dealing multilaterally with international problems. Recalling her country’s advocacy of multilateral solutions in dealing with Iraq’s previous non-compliance with Council resolutions, she welcomed the gradual departure of international forces, but recognized that UNAMI needed security support in order to continue its essential tasks. Momentum must not be lost following the elections and the power-sharing agreement, she said, calling for the continuation of efforts to create an inclusive Government. Domestic issues, such as internal border demarcation and security problems, must be resolved in a human rights context before the international forces left, she stressed. Despite such challenges, a page in history had been turned, she said.
NAWAF SALAM ( Lebanon) said today’s event demonstrated Iraq’s pivotal role in the Muslim world, and recalled also the country’s ancient importance. Iraq was on the way to democracy and unity, and crucial to that effort was a constitution that expected resource-sharing and the participation of women. Lebanon supported the efforts of the Iraqi people to take responsibility and improve security, he said, calling on the international community to support those efforts and condemning recent religion-based attacks. The Council’s action to lift sanctions was proof that Iraq was not a proliferation threat, and Lebanon welcomed efforts to create a successor mechanism to the Development Fund for Iraq. It also welcomed efforts to settle accounts in the oil-for-food programme and to settle outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait.
GÉRARD ARAUD (France) welcomed the progress made on the political, economical and security levels since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime, saying that recent developments gave hope for a complete normalization of the situation. It was to be hoped that the 11 November interim agreements would soon bear fruit and that the Iraqi leadership’s will to overcome differences would prevail. France had decided to engage politically with that leadership through high-level visits, among other things. It provided firm support on the ground through bilateral cooperation in defence, agriculture, environment and culture, he said, noting that his country supported Iraq’s legitimate request to regain the international status it had enjoyed before 1990.
Noting that the Council had closed three sets of Chapter VII measures today, he said that lifting non-proliferation restrictions would allow Iraq to have access to previously banned technology. He welcomed the fact that Iraq had full sovereignty over oil profits. While unable to support today’s text in that
regard, he said its objective was not the problem, explaining that although efforts had been made to achieve a consensus text, the resolution did not include all the safeguards that France thought were necessary. Hopefully they would be included when the matter came up again. Welcoming the progress made by Iraq and Kuwait in dealing with outstanding issues, he said it was essential that Iraq meet its final obligations under Council resolutions in that regard.
U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) said today’s Iraq bore little resemblance to that of 19 March 2003, the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The country enjoyed stability and self-governance to a far greater extent than it had 10 years ago. Despite the phased withdrawal of international combat troops, it was regaining its strength and operational capacity, she said. Welcoming the agreement on the formation of a new, inclusive partnership Government, she said the involvement of the Sunni, Shia and Kurdish communities was encouraging. However, there was a continuing imperative for international support and partnership, she emphasized.
Welcoming the resolutions adopted today, she described progress in terms of Iraq’s relationship with its neighbours as encouraging. To ensure sustainable outcomes, it was important that the Government work assiduously to fulfil all its remaining obligations under Chapter VII, including those in respect of Kuwait. The security situation in Iraq remained dire, with insurgent elements remaining a feature of Iraqi life, she said, stressing the obligation to guarantee the rights of minorities, particularly Christians, and other vulnerable persons. Perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of terrorism seeking to dismantle Iraq’s hard-won democracy must be brought to justice, she said, calling on the Council to lend its weight to further operational and logistical training and counter-terrorism support for Iraq’s security sector.
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