United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča is currently on a three-day visit to Iraq. Mr. Jenča met yesterday, 21 January, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Vice-President Osama al-Nujaifi, Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jubouri as well as the recently appointed electoral board of commissioners. They discussed how the UN can best contribute to Iraq, particularly on the national and provincial council elections scheduled for 12 May 2018, developments in the relations between the federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq as well as the upcoming international reconstruction conference for Iraq in Kuwait, and Iraq’s reconciliation processes.
Today, Mr. Jenča is visiting Mosul. He has witnessed firsthand the resilience of the city’s people and their determination to rise from and rebuilding their lives after more than three years of suffering under ISIL’s terrorist regime. He visited the devastated neighbourhoods of Mosul, where ISIL once led its so-called “caliphate”. “I saw local markets, schools and hospitals re-opening, residents strolling freely around as families on the streets and vehicles on their way back home from displacements camps packed with home furniture and personal items. We must all work together to build on what has been achieved and never again let terrorism have a foothold in this great, ancient land. The UN will spare no effort to assist the people in taking back their lives and rebuilding their hometowns in peace and prosperity”, he stated.
Mr. Jenča met with local officials, including the Mayor of Mosul, to underscore that the United Nations stands by all Iraqis, notably the citizens of Ninewa, including Christians, Yezidis, Shabaks and other minority groups, who have borne the brunt of ISIL’s terror. “I am here today to congratulate the proud people of Ninewa and all Iraqis on their historic victory over ISIL. This victory would not have been achieved without the unity of the people of Iraq. Unity is a precondition for reconciliation and co-existence at all levels, which are essential for winning the peace in Iraq,” Mr. Jenča said.
Mr. Jenča also visited a hospital complex in the liberated areas that had served as one of ISIL’s last headquarters and as a laboratory and factory for asymmetric explosives. Clearing and restoring this life-essential building is one of the many projects UN Mine Action Service and the UN Development Programme are working on jointly, so that people can return to their daily lives and have access to basic health care services. “I am stunned by what I saw today in Mosul and by the stories I heard of how difficult life was under ISIL, but I found solace by the expressions of hope and determination I heard from the same people who want to live in peace and dignity, free of fear and intimidation”, Mr. Jenča concluded after today’s visit.
Tomorrow he will meet Vice President Nouri al-Maliki, Foreign Affairs Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, cleric and party leader Ammar al-Hakim, and women and minority leaders.