Thank you, SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert, for your briefing. It is great to see you physically present here in the Council. Norway fully supports the on-going efforts in preparing for the elections on October 10 and commend the Independent High Electoral Commission and UNAMI for the progress made in this regard. I also welcome the Representative of Iraq to this meeting.
Free, fair, and transparent elections with broad representation and participation, including of those internally displaced, are vital for the integrity of the electoral process and for the stability of Iraq. We urge all Iraqi stakeholders to contributing to a conducive environment for the elections.
Successful elections require safe electoral environments, free from fear and intimidation, not the least for female candidates and voters. We commend the June launch of the workplan to promote and monitor women’s electoral participation and encourage continued prioritization of this as the election draws near.
Additionally, the security and protection of all Iraqi citizens, including their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, is essential. We again condemn the continued targeted attacks against Iraqi protestors, human rights defenders, activists, and journalists. We reiterate our call on Iraqi authorities to end the cycle of impunity by investigating incidents and holding perpetrators accountable.
The security situation in Iraq continues to be fragile and volatile. We are concerned by the continued terrorist activity by ISIL and convey our deepest condolences to the victims and families after the appalling attack in Baghdad on July 19. Furthermore, we call for the end of all attacks against diplomatic facilities and coalition forces.
We are however, encouraged by signs of progress on justice and security issues, and welcome the passing of the Yazidi Female Survivors Law. It is vital that the UN supports the Iraqi government in implementing this legislation to ensure accountability, justice, and reparations for the survivors.
Furthermore, we commend the Iraqi government’s efforts to promote cooperation and regional stability and welcome the up-coming “Iraqi and Neighboring Countries Conference” in Baghdad.
Regional and transnational threats, disputes, and challenges - including environmental issues - should be addressed based on the principle of good neighbourly relations and with respect for the territorial sovereignty of the states in question. All actors need to uphold their responsibilities under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians.
turning to the Baghdad-Erbil relations, we are pleased to see progress on the budget law and call for its expedient implementation. We urge the federal government and the KRG to further develop their dialogue to resolve outstanding issues and to promote increased cooperation. Similarly, we encourage broader security cooperation in the disputed territories and urge for the implementation of the Sinjar agreement.
I conclude by welcoming the progress made on the Iraq-Kuwait file and the recent identification of the remains of another 10 missing individuals. We commend the cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait in bringing this humanitarian file to a close.