13 January 2014

Readout of the Secretary-General’s meetings with Iraqi officials

The Secretary-General met today in Baghdad with Mr. Nuri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq;  Mr. Usama al-Nujaifi, Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq; Mr. Khudayr al-Khuzai, Vice-President of the Republic of Iraq;  Mr. Hoshyar Zebari, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq: and Mr. Sarbast Mustafa, Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission.

The Secretary-General discussed with them the current situation in Iraq. He expressed concern at the deteriorating security situation, especially the latest violence in Anbar Governorate.

The Secretary-General also  stressed that combating terrorism requires a combination of security and political measures. He also stressed 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 2014 and said they needed to be credible and peaceful. In particular, with the Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission, the Secretary-General stressed  the need to ensure the voters to reach poles freely and without fear on election day. He said the UN Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) would be committed to working closely with the Commission.

The Secretary-General and the Iraqi officials also  exchanged views on regional developments, including relations between Iraq and its neighbours. In particular, he stressed the very good relationship between Iraq and Kuwait as an example on which to build for neighbouring countries.

They finally discussed in depth the impact of the Syrian conflict on Iraq and its security, humanitarian and political dimensions for the country. He thanked the Government for hosting Syrian refugees and asked Iraq to keep its border open.