NEW YORK, Nov 25 (KUNA) — UN Special Representative to Iraq and the Head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Nickolay Mladenov, on Monday said the recent “expanded cooperation” between Iraq and Kuwait promises further progress on pending files and has made his job easier.
Mladenov told the Security Council as it examined Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s recent periodic report on UNAMI’s activities that Iraq and Kuwait “are exploring cooperation in culture, youth, trade, transport, commerce and other common areas of interest. The cementing of ties bodes well for furthering progress on issues that are 22 years old and need to be brought to a close.” He also said that UNAMI’s task is made easier by the “deepening and expanding nature of Iraq-Kuwait cooperation.” It is the first time Mladenov addresses the Council since he was appointed last September as the new UN Head in Iraq, succeeding Martin Kobler, and since the Council decided last June to hand over the responsibility of the missing Kuwaiti nationals and property files to UNAMI.
Mladenov said Iraq itself “is not a stranger to the grief of the missing. Thus Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights has shown commitment in this humanitarian search. It is regrettable that these painstaking efforts have failed to provide tangible results to date.” He assured the Kuwaiti families that UNAMI “will play its mandated role with this in mind.” Mladenov also welcomed Kuwait’s “intention to appoint an official dedicated to the file to be based in Baghdad, and with whom UNMAMI looks forward to working closely,” stressing that the issue of missing persons “remains an important priority” for UNAMI.
On the missing property, he said the national archives are “seminal to a country’s history. Kuwait rightly considers the original national archives as part of its identity, treasure and history.” He noted that Iraq’s efforts to remedy the loss of Kuwaiti property have yielded results over the years, “however, it is disappointing to note that few clued have emerged to date that would give stakeholders hope as to identifying the whereabouts of these national archives.” Iraqi Ambassador Mohammad Al-Hakim also told the Council that his government “continues to be committed” to fulfil Council resolutions pertaining to the missing Kuwaiti national and property,” and “highlighted the excellent and developing relations between Iraq and Kuwait and the existing cooperation in this area.” On the situation in Iraq, Mladenov said the Iraqi people continues to face serious challenges, especially in the security sector because of terrorists who incite sectarian hatred, stressing that unless the conflict in Syria is resolved, the situation in Iraq will remain chaotic.
“Today, more than ever, Iraq’s challenges cannot be considered in isolation from the broader risks that face the region. Resolving the Syrian crisis through an inclusive national project and adopting a regional strategy against all forms of religious or sectarian extremism are vital to bringing stability to Iraq,” he said.
He conveyed to the Council a message from his Iraqi interlocutors “all shared a growing anxiety that outside influences, including the situation in Syria and the regional tensions as a whole, are fuelling the terrorist threat to Iraq.” He also noted Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s call to host an international conference aiming to unify efforts to combat terrorism and ward off radicalism.
Al-Hakim concurred with Mladenov that the continuation of the conflict in Syria and the presence of nearly 35,000 armed foreign fighters battling alongside the parties, transforming the conflict into a “sectarian” one, “is spreading day by day into the region.” This, he explained, has had a “significant” impact on increasing the frequency of terrorist acts in Iraq.
“We call upon the Security Council to take appropriate actions and consider these terrorist acts, as crimes against humanity, and bring the perpetrators and those who support them to justice, without impunity, as these terrorist attacks have led to the death of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens,” he said.
In his latest report to the Council, Ban said terrorist acts have increased in Iraq to “levels not seen since 2008,” compelling 5,000 Iraqis this year to join the 1.13 million internally displaced persons who fled their homes amid the 2006-208 sectarian violence.
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