Activities of Secretary-General in Iraq, 13-14 January

21 January 2014

Activities of Secretary-General in Iraq, 13-14 January

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Baghdad, Iraq, early in the morning of Monday, 13 January.

He first met with the Prime Minister of the country, Nouri al-Maliki, and held a joint press conference with him.  He told reporters that he was especially worried about deteriorating security in parts of Iraq and strongly condemned the terrible attacks which had targeted civilians.  He added that it was important for all political leaders to unite in their stance against terrorism and come together to stabilize the situation.

After a luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister, he met with the Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Osama al-Nujaifi.  He then held discussions with the Vice-President of Iraq, Khudair al-Khuza’e, and also met with Sarbast Mustafa, the Chairman of the Independent High Electoral Commission.  That night, the Secretary-General also had a working dinner with Hoshyar Zebari, the Foreign Minister of Iraq.

During his meetings with these officials he met in Iraq, the Secretary-General stressed that combating terrorism requires a combination of security and political measures.  He also said that all political leaders should engage in the political process through genuine dialogue in a spirit of national unity and mutual understanding.  He noted the importance of the parliamentary elections scheduled for 30 April, and said they needed to be credible and peaceful.

On Tuesday, 14 January, the Secretary-General left Baghdad for Erbil.  He first visited the Kawrgosik refugee campin Erbil Governorate.  There, he met with a refugee family and was briefed on the situation in the camp.  Speaking to reporters, the Secretary-General said that he was there to show the solidarity and support of the international community.  He said he was then going to Kuwait to chair the second High-level Pledging Conference for Syria in order to ensure that the necessary assistance was provided to Syrian refugees.  He also said he would convene the international conference on Syria the following week and called for the solidarity of the international community, and strong support for a Syrian-led peace process, so that these refugees can return to their homes.

The Secretary-General later held discussionswith the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masoud Barzani, and the Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, who thanked him for being the first Secretary-General to come to the region on the occasion of his visit to the Kawrgosik refugee camp.  The Secretary-General urged the Kurdistan Regional Government to keep the border open for refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict.  He also welcomed the reinvigorated dialogue between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

He then attended a luncheon hosted by the President and the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region before leaving Erbilearly that afternoon for Kuwait City.

For information media. Not an official record.