|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7224th Meeting* (AM)
Horrific Acts by Extremist Group in Iraq Present Complex Threat to Peace, Security
of Entire Region, Top United Nations Official Tells Security Council
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq this morning called on the Security Council to demand that the Islamist forces that now controlled a third of the country's territory cease all hostilities and atrocities and ensure that the group’s "horrific terrorist acts" were held to account.
Nickolay Mladenov, who is also the head of United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), asked the Council to call on Member States for support to Iraq in facing its current challenges, including efforts to contain the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS, also referred to as ISIL), but he stressed that the solution could not be found “in the toolbox of military operations”.
"From a splinter group of Al-Qaida, ISIL, today, has grown to be a complex threat to peace and security in Iraq, the entire region and beyond," Mr. Mladenov, said via video-teleconference from Baghdad in a meeting that also heard from Iraq's representative.
Introducing the Secretary-General's latest report on UNAMI (document S/2014/480), Mr. Mladenov said that ISIL aimed to establish a permanent foothold beyond the control of authorities through terror and sought to radicalize people and undermine the Government by exploiting legitimate grievances and manipulating divisions within society.
ISIL, he continued, had been joined in an alliance of convenience by a number of other groups with different goals, including former Ba'athi militants and Sunni tribes. Together, they had battled Iraqi security forces and captured large portions of the Governorates of Niew, Anbar, Salaheddine, Kirkuk and parts of Diayala, threatening vital infrastructure including the Beiji refinery.
He described the persecutions imposed on minorities in the Ninewa Province, including the ultimatum for Christians to convert, pay a tax, leave or face execution, and the systematic abductions, killings and destruction of property faced by Shias, Turkomen, Yazidis and Shabaks.
Since the beginning of the year, he said, an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis had lost their homes, with millions more trapped by fighting. The United Nations had identified over 1,600 sites of displacement, where access to necessities remained challenging. The Kurdistan region alone now hosted over 300,000 newly displaced who joined the more than 225,000 Syrian refugees already there.
He thanked Member States for their humanitarian assistance while appealing for further aid, and commended the thousands of host families across Iraq and all Iraqi officials who were involved in the response. He pledged that the Organization would continue to address the urgent needs of the displaced, and would spare no effort to reach all affected, "no matter where they are".
The Mission in Iraq, he said, also continued to advocate for the protection of civilians in the country, nevertheless, between January and June of this year 5,500 were killed and 12,000 wounded. Further, almost 900 were killed in July alone, including many children, and there had been suffering due to human rights violations, much of it targeted against women.
He called on all actors to ensure that human rights standards were respected and that the Government hold violators to account. Means for civilians to flee the violence and access for humanitarian aid must be guaranteed. Any plan to re-establish security and Government control must be accepted across the societal divides of Iraq and implemented in cooperation with the Kurdistan Regional Government. All should stand together against terrorism, but the concerns of all communities must be addressed without exception.
In that vein, demands from Sunnis and others that are constitutionally sound and the impasse between Baghdad and Erbil must be addressed, he said, calling on Kurdish Members of Parliament to continue to engage in the political process and for political leaders to refrain from provocative statements. The Mission, he pledged, stood ready to provide good offices and legal and technical support.
To engage all communities, the momentum generated by the legislative elections must now translate into the election of a new President and Government. “ Iraq cannot afford a protracted government-formation process,” he stated. It must receive regional and international support to face ISIL and other challenges.
Mr. Mladenov also introduced the Secretary-General’s third report (document S/2014/485) on the issues of missing Kuwaiti and third country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, stemming from Iran’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Iraq’s relations with Kuwait continued to show signs of improvement, he said, with the major obstacle to full resolution of all issues being the current instability in Iraq. UNAMI stood ready to facilitate more contacts between the two countries.
Following Mr. Mladenov’s presentation, Iraq’s permanent representative, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, said the Secretary-General’s visit tomorrow demonstrated the constant support of the United Nations to his country’s building of democratic institutions and a national unity government.
Notwithstanding terrorist attacks, he said, the political process was in “full swing”, with the completion of the third round of elections that had been held according to international standards. Over 13 million Iraqis had defied security difficulties to participate. On 1 July, the Parliament held its first meeting and on 15 July that body’s first speaker was elected.
He recalled, however, that he had previously warned the Security Council of the terrorist threat to the region that was emanating from the Syrian conflict with the advent of ISIS and Al-Nusra. That threat had become reality with armed groups crossing the border from Syria into Iraq. Those groups were being supported, both militarily and financially, by outside parties.
He described the violence that was occurring in the territory now occupied by such terrorist groups, including the abductions of diplomats and the massacres and executions of civilians and other captives. Because of that, a mass exodus of millions of people had fled the area.
He thanked the Security Council for their 21 July statement condemning ISIS’s persecution of minorities and for the report by the High Commissioner of Human Rights confirming the flagrant violations by ISIS.
He stressed that the stability of his Government was important to the region's stability, noting the restoration of diplomatic relations with Kuwait and the signing of bilateral economic and legal agreements with Egypt and Iran. Security needed to be established with both international and regional cooperation.
Warning the Council that ISIS’s expansion was undermining the region and threatening international peace and security, he reiterated his appeal to Member States to cooperate with Iraq to fight terrorism together. Without that solidarity, the support of the Council would remain ineffective. He also requested the extension of UNAMI for another year.
The meeting began at 10:50 a.m. and ended at 11:30 a.m.
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