United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Iraq on Thursday, 6 December, after departing from Kuwait, where he had met with the Emir and other senior officials to discuss improving relations between Iraq and Kuwait.
The Secretary-General held a series of meetings with Iraq’s leaders immediately upon arrival, meeting first with President Jalal Talabani before travelling to meet Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, with whom he then held a joint press conference.
At the press conference with the Prime Minister, the Secretary-General said there was a historic opportunity for Iraq and Kuwait to have a new era of cooperation.
On Iraq and Kuwait, the Secretary-General reiterated to all his interlocutors his personal commitment to see Iraq achieve full normalization of its international status. While welcoming the holding of the second meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee in April, following the exchange of high-level visits, he urged Iraq to fulfil its outstanding international obligations, including boundary maintenance and compensation of farmers, without further delay. He reiterated his belief that a historic opportunity is at hand for both Iraq and Kuwait to put the past behind them and usher in a new era of cooperation towards full normalization of relations.
Following the meeting and a luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister, the Secretary-General met with the Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Osama al-Nujaifi. After that, he met with leaders of Iraq’s political blocs, with whom he discussed the ongoing political stalemate. The Secretary-General urged all political leaders to work in a constructive spirit of compromise within the framework of the Constitution. He also appealed to the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to exercise restraint and enter into meaningful dialogue to address outstanding issues. (See Press Release SG/SM/14701.)
The Secretary-General discussed with the Iraqi leaders the situation in Syria, including its humanitarian impact, and urged Iraq to continue to be generous and keep its borders open to enable Syrian refugees and Iraqi returnees to seek safety in Iraq.
The Secretary-General assured his interlocutors that, in accordance with its Security Council mandate, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), led by his Special Representative, Martin Kobler, will remain steadfast in its support to the people and Government of Iraq in securing a future of peace, stability and prosperity.
In the evening, the Secretary-General left Baghdad for Amman, Jordan.