Secretary-General's remarks to the press on meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki
Baghdad, Iraq, 24 July 2014
I am very pleased to be back in Baghdad. This is my sixth visit as Secretary-General to visit this great country. I know this is a difficult, challenging time. I wanted to be here to underscore my full support for your efforts to overcome divisions and build a secure, prosperous and peaceful Iraq for all.
Let me begin by congratulating the people of Iraq for the general elections that were successfully held on April 30th.
This constitutes the first fundamental step in consolidating the democratic political process.
This is particularly important at a time of crisis, when all leaders need to work together to fight terrorism and remove the seeds of sectarianism.
I extend my congratulations to the election of Speaker Salim al-Jubouri and Deputy Speakers Haidar al-Abadi and Aram Sheikh Mohammed. I encourage the parliamentary blocs to move swiftly to elect a new President and then a new Government that can address the critical challenges ahead.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have just had very good, very constructive meetings with Prime Minister Maliki and the Acting Foreign Minister.
We reviewed the ongoing security crisis, the government formation process, relations between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government, and relations between Iraq and Kuwait. These are very important issues and challenges.
I am profoundly worried about the violence engulfing Iraq. I would like to express my strong support and solidarity for the people of Iraq and your common struggle against terrorism.
The violence has claimed thousands of lives and driven over one million people from their homes this year alone.
I am deeply saddened by the senseless deaths of so many innocent Iraqis. I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of violence, terrorist attacks, and to the men and women of the Iraqi Security Forces who have died in the line of duty.
It is critical that all political leaders fulfill their responsibilities to ensure that the government formation process falls within the constitutional timetable.
Iraq is facing an existential threat but it can be overcome through the formation of a thoroughly inclusive government -- a government that can address the concerns of all communities, including security, political, social and economic matters.
It must be a government in which all Iraqis, regardless of background, feel represented.
I strongly condemn the systematic and despicable persecution of minority populations by the Islamic State and associated armed groups. Any systematic attack that targets the civilian population because of their ethnic background or religious beliefs may well constitute a crime against humanity.
I call on all sides to respect human rights standards and uphold international humanitarian law.
All parties to the conflict must do their utmost to ensure the protection of civilians. Humanitarian corridors should be established and honoured by all parties.
The United Nations and its partners are working to provide humanitarian support to those displaced by the fighting, wherever they may be. We will use the resources provided by our generous partners to benefit all Iraqis affected by the conflict.
In this difficult time, it is important for all leaders to fully engage in a meaningful and constructive dialogue with one another, to successfully counter terrorism, strengthen democratic political processes and institutions, respect the rule of law and human rights, and promote inclusive development.
Iraq’s leaders bear a clear responsibility to protect the security and welfare of all Iraqi people. They must find common ground to advance the future of this great country. I count on all the leaders to show courage, wisdom, persistence and vision for the future.
I encourage Baghdad and Erbil to work towards restoring their partnership and to jointly address the current security crisis. It is essential that disagreements over all outstanding issues be resolved within the framework of the Constitution.
Prime Minister Maliki and I also discussed relations with Kuwait. I commend both countries for their commitment to continuing to improve your relationship.
You have my commitment that the United Nations will continue to stand by Iraq and its people of all communities.
The United Nations Assistance Mission, by my Special Representative, Nickolay Mladenov, who is here with us, is here to help Iraq resolve this crisis and return to its path of building a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous future for all.
Once again, you have my full support as you strive to move forward.
Off-the-Cuff on 24 July 2014