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UN Security Council Debates Future of Iraq Mission Amid Calls for Drawdown


Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Iraq, May 16th, 2024| UN Photo/Manuel Elías
Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Iraq, May 16th, 2024| UN Photo/Manuel Elías

By: ATN News


United Nations: In a critical session of the United Nations Security Council, members convened to discuss the future of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, presented a detailed briefing highlighting both progress and persistent challenges in Iraq, while advocating for the nation to move beyond its turbulent past.

Hennis-Plasschaert emphasized significant improvements in Iraq’s political and economic landscape since UNAMI's deployment two decades ago, noting, “We are witnessing an Iraq on the rise.” However, she acknowledged enduring issues such as corruption, factionalism, impunity, and the presence of armed groups outside state control. These challenges, she warned, risk exacerbating feelings of marginalization and inter-community tensions.


Despite successful local elections in December 2023, Hennis-Plasschaert highlighted ongoing legislative gridlocks, particularly in Diyala and Kirkuk, and the protracted negotiations to replace Iraq's parliamentary speaker. She also underscored the dire situation in Sinjar, where reconstruction lags nearly a decade after the Yazidi genocide by Da’esh, calling for unified efforts to rebuild the area.


In the ensuing debate, Security Council members expressed divergent views on the proposed conclusion of UNAMI’s mandate by December 31, 2025. The Russian Federation and China supported this timeline, arguing that Iraq is capable of managing its own affairs without prolonged international intervention. The Russian representative stated, “Drawing out an international presence further would only hinder the development of national decisions.”


Conversely, the United States and several other members stressed the importance of UNAMI’s continued role, particularly in addressing unresolved issues between Iraq and Kuwait. The U.S. representative argued, “The UN should continue to be involved in efforts to resolve these outstanding issues,” pointing to the Mission's critical support in electoral processes and human rights initiatives.


The debate also revealed a broad consensus on the need for international support in Iraq's counter-terrorism efforts, given the sporadic attacks by Da’esh remnants. The representative of Guyana, speaking on behalf of Algeria, Mozambique, and Sierra Leone, emphasized, “Scattered Da’esh attacks underscore the need for continued international collaboration.”


Iraq’s representative reiterated the government’s stance that UNAMI’s mission should conclude by


Abbas Kadhom Obaid Al-Fatlawi, Charge d'Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations
Abbas Kadhom Obaid Al-Fatlawi, Charge d'Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations

the end of 2025, citing substantial progress in national governance and security. He highlighted the nation's improved relations with neighbors and strategic partners, and called for a focus on economic reform, service delivery, and sustainable development in the Mission’s remaining time.





Tareq Albanai, Permanent Representative of Kuwait to the United Nations
Tareq Albanai, Permanent Representative of Kuwait to the United Nations


Kuwait’s representative stressed the ongoing need for cooperation in resolving the fate of missing Kuwaiti nationals and property, a task yet incomplete despite UNAMI's efforts. He advocated for continued UN involvement in this humanitarian issue even after the Mission’s mandate ends.


As discussions continue, the Security Council faces the complex task of balancing Iraq’s sovereign aspirations with the need for sustained international support to ensure lasting stability and development in the region. The debate underscores the critical juncture at which Iraq stands, poised between overcoming past adversities and embracing future opportunities.


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