United Nations, May 22 : Iraq’s democratic transition, weighed down by political infighting, weak institutions, corruption, and the constant threat of ISIL needed more international support, 'lots of time and lots of hard work,' the top United Nations official in the country said.
In a briefing to the Security Council, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), described the country’s challenges as “manifold”, but pledged the operation’s “continued and strong commitment to assist and support wherever we can.” She urged the Council to recognise that the ongoing political infighting is a costly obstacle, and a full year after national elections, ministerial appointments have yet to be made to the key posts, including Interior, Defence, Justice and Education.
“Political parties have not yet shown themselves willing to compromise. It should be understood, however, that political compromise is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it is a sign of political maturity – and a requisite for resilience.” Ms Hennis-Plasschaert said, also adding that with critical laws pending, it was “high time” for chairs and deputies to be selected for parliamentary committees.
With this in mind, Ms Hennis-Plasschaert said it was necessary to spotlight the scourge of corruption, which she described as being “pervasive at all levels in Iraq ... taking money that should be spent on public services and placing it instead in private pockets”, deterring economic activity and hindering business development, which would result in much-needed job creation.
“Achieving tangible results in wiping out corruption will be crucial, in so many ways, most importantly it will revive public trust which is essential for the further development of Iraq’s democracy,” she stated.
She called for continued, wide-based international support, support to ensure that Iraq leaves its violent past behind, and to ensure that the country does not slip back into the turmoil from which it so recently emerged. “In other words: to prevent ISIL from regaining a strong foothold in Iraq a long-term approach is critical,” she stressed.
Ahead of Tuesday's meeting, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution in which it decided to extend the mandate of UNAMI until 31 May 2020. (UNI)