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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Iraq

Thank you Mr. President.


I would like to thank our briefers this morning, Jeanine, and Ms. Amal Kabashi, for their critical and really frank assessments of the recent legislative elections. I am also delighted to see our colleague Mohamed, Ambassador of Iraq, amongst us here at the table this morning.


In particular, I would like to take this opportunity to applaud you Jeanine and your team, for the vital role you have played in assisting and monitoring the elections. We are fully aware over time of the considerable challenges you have faced, and you can be sure of our recognition and continued support.


Ms. Kabashi, your remarks this morning regarding what you called the daily challenges facing Iraqi women, and what you described as discrimination and exclusion, were not lost on us. I was also struck by your determined message regarding Iraqi women’s aspirations to help shape and participate in the new government.  Your messages were very clear. Thank you.


Ireland welcomes the holding of early legislative elections in Iraq on 10 October. The UN, through its enhanced role in monitoring these elections, has found that the electoral process was largely peaceful, as we heard this morning, and orderly.


To the Government of Iraq and to the Independent High Electoral Commission – we commend your extensive efforts in preparing and conducting the elections.


To all who provided support, including regional and international observers – your contribution towards strengthening Iraq’s democracy cannot be overstated. We look forward to the EU Electoral Observer Mission publishing its own comprehensive report early next year.


Most importantly, to the people of Iraq – we salute your courage and your determination to exercise your democratic right in a very challenging environment. I want to pay particular tribute to women, minorities, and to the internally displaced, for your participation. The predicted record number of Parliamentary seats for women, as we heard, is very encouraging.


Ireland looks forward to the peaceful formation of an inclusive government that responds to the needs and aspirations of all Iraqis.


Mr. President,


Against the backdrop of these positive developments, Ireland deeply regrets the recent shocking assassination attempt on Prime Minister Kadhimi, and hopes that those who were injured make swift recoveries. We strongly condemn this and all other incidents or threats of violence, including those targeted at members of UNAMI, IHEC, and at those who have tirelessly worked to ensure a free and fair electoral process.


Iraq’s stability is already threatened by what you, Jeanine, described this morning as a precarious situation at best. We remain concerned at ongoing attacks across the country, including by ISIL, which have claimed lives in recent months. We reject all attempts to destabilise Iraq, and of course all forms of terrorism.


Mr. President,


The Iraqi people gathered in a popular protest movement just over two years ago to call for system-wide reform. While their determination has borne fruit in the holding of early elections, hundreds of Iraqis tragically paid the ultimate price for this progress.


Regrettably, violence and threats against political and civic activists and human rights defenders continues, in particular against women candidates. We know this happened during the recent electoral campaign.


We can and must do more to break down the barriers to women’s full participation in political life, and to foster a political and civic space that welcomes and protects all members of Iraqi society.


We call on the Iraqi authorities to urgently deliver accountability and redress for the crimes committed, and to implement much-needed and urgent reforms.


Turning briefly to the humanitarian situation, Ireland was encouraged by the second round of voluntary returns from the Al Hol camp in Syria in September, combined with the first returns of families from Jeddah 1 camp to their areas of origin. We reiterate that all returns must be safe, voluntary, and dignified.


Finally, Mr. President,


I would like to acknowledge recent progress made in the identification of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, as well as on reparations. These are vital steps towards full reconciliation and we commend the spirit of cooperation demonstrated between the two countries.


Indeed, Iraq’s exemplary commitment to enhanced engagement with its neighbours more generally has the potential to greatly improve the region’s stability in our view.  In that regard, we welcome thetrilateral partnership between Iraq, Jordan and Egypt, and Iraq’ssuccessful hosting of the regional conference held in Baghdad on 28 August.


Thank you Mr. President.


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