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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the Security Council Open VTC on Iraq

2020/08/26

Mr. President,

I thank Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert for her informative briefing, and would like to express our appreciation to her and all the UNAMI staff for their dedicated work. I also welcome the Permanent Representative of Iraq to this meeting.

In May, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2522, extending the mandate of UNAMI for one year. It is a clear message of support from the international community to Iraq for its stabilization, reconstruction and development efforts.

At present, the government and people of Iraq, under the leadership of Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi, are working hard to address the economic challenges, advance political process, fight terrorism, and combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The international community has every reason to commend those endeavors, and support Iraq's pursuit of peace, development and a better future for its people. In this connection, I wish to highlight the following points:

First, to respect Iraq's sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity.

As Iraq is planning to hold early elections in June 2021, the political process in Iraq is at a crucial stage. The international community should respect Iraq's ownership and leadership in all its endeavors. When lending a helping hand, it is important to first listen to the views of Iraq, respect its sovereignty, refrain from imposing solutions and interfering in Iraq's internal affairs. UNAMI should provide election assistance in accordance with its mandate entrusted by relevant Security Council resolutions.

Iraq has repeatedly protested against unilateral military actions of some countries in its territory. We reiterate that Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity should always be respected. We join the Secretary-General in calling on the parties concerned to resolve issues that may escalate tensions in Iraq through peaceful means.

We welcome the continued efforts of Iraq to build balanced and mutually beneficial relations with its neighbors and partners, and commend the collaboration between Iraq and Kuwait in resolving the issue of missing Kuwaiti persons and property.

Second, to support Iraq in safeguarding national security and combating terrorism. At the opening of the 2020 virtual Counter-Terrorism Week last month, Secretary-General Guterres warned that terrorists are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to advance their objectives. He specifically mentioned that terrorist force is continuing its efforts to reassert itself in Iraq and Syria. His call for vigilance is further vindicated by the recent increase of terrorist attacks in Iraq.

We call on the international community to continue to support Iraq in consolidating the hard-won results of counter-terrorism and addressing the issue of foreign terrorist fighters. We should also support Iraq in bringing terrorists to justice in accordance with its domestic laws, and reject double standard and politicization in counter-terrorism. China recognizes the important work of UNITAD in collecting evidence and encourage UNITAD to ensure Iraq's full access to the evidence so as to advance its national accountability efforts.

Third, to help Iraq address current challenges and boost socioeconomic development. Iraq is now confronted with economic and fiscal hardship, exacerbated by low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic. We welcome measures taken by the government of Iraq to tackle those challenges, such as enhancing preparedness and responsiveness to the pandemic, ratifying the Domestic and External Borrowing Law, fighting corruption, etc. We also welcome the resumption of talks between the Federal and Kurdistan Regional Governments on revenue and resource sharing, and encourage their continued engagement to resolve other outstanding issues.

Iraq has suffered immensely from wars. Iraqi people are longing for stable and happy life. In this journey of hope, the international community has an important role to play. We must intensify efforts to help Iraq carry out reconstruction, diversify its economy, create more jobs, eradicate poverty, and improve public services and livelihoods. Promises of help should be fulfilled. There should be no blank check and no political strings attached. Amid the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Iraq, more international assistance is urgently needed to fight the pandemic and strengthen Iraq's public health system.

Mr. President,

China stands with the government and people of Iraq in their pursuit of peace and development. We support their efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and security. We join their fight against COVID-19 by sending our experts team and providing medical supplies. China will continue to enhance our bilateral relations with Iraq, deepen cooperation including through the Belt and Road Initiative, and contribute to its socioeconomic development for the benefit of all Iraqis.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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