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

2021/02/16

Madam President,

I thank the Special Representative for her briefing and welcome the Permanent Representative of Iraq to this meeting.

Currently, the political process in Iraq is at a critical stage, coupled with complex security environment and severe economic and humanitarian situation. The international community should fully respect the wishes of the Iraqi people and support the Iraqi government in properly tackling various internal and external challenges, safeguarding national security and stability, and achieving economic and social development. In this regard, I'd like to reiterate our appreciation and support to the SRSG and to UNAMI for their work. In connection with the report of the SG and the briefing of the SRSG, I'd like to make the following observations.

First, the international community should create a favorable atmosphere for Iraq's political process and national reconciliation. Holding early elections is the most important political agenda of Iraq this year. It is also an important step in Iraq's transition. We commend Iraq's finalization of relevant legislation and its active advancement of electoral preparations. We hope the elections will be held smoothly, so as to achieve the vision of the Iraqi people. As a token of support, China donated remote video conferencing systems and office computers to the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq at the beginning of this month to support the preparations for the elections.

Recently, Iraq once again wrote to the President of the Security Council on election assistance. Members of the Council should, in light of the practice of the UN on electoral assistance, consider political, security, legal and budgetary factors, among others, and carefully study and discuss the request of Iraq.

Enhancing unity and solidarity among parties in Iraq, achieving inclusiveness and reconciliation, and accelerating integration and development are not only in the fundamental interests of the Iraqi people, but also conducive to regional peace and stability. We support the further improvement of relationship between the federal government and the Kurdistan regional government who should continue their communication and dialogue on revenue sharing and budget allocation in a joint search of sustainable solutions. China condemns the rocket attack that occurred near Erbil International Airport yesterday, and opposes any actions that aggravate tensions in Iraq.

Second, the international community should support Iraq in consolidating its counterterrorism achievements and safeguarding national security. China resolutely opposes all forms of terrorism, strongly condemns the suicide bombing attack in Baghdad on January 21. The international community should continue to support Iraq in dealing with the threat of terrorism and cracking down on the remnants of terrorist organizations such as ISIL. It should assist Iraq in solving the problem of foreign terrorist fighters and consolidating the hard-won achievements in countering terrorism. It is essential to actively support Iraq in holding terrorists accountable, fully respect Iraqi judicial sovereignty, and avoid double standards on counterterrorism issues.

China commends the development of mutually beneficial and friendly relations between Iraq and the regional countries. We agree with Secretary-General Guterres in his report that all parties concerned should adhere to the principle of good neighborliness and friendship, jointly tackle cross-border challenges and effectively respect territorial sovereignty of the countries concerned. Any military action on Iraqi territory must obtain the consent of the Iraqi Government. China welcomes the close cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait on the issue of missing persons and property and hopes that relevant work will continue to make progress.

Third, the international community should help Iraq fight the pandemic, develop its economy, and improve people's livelihood. For a while, low oil prices and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have posed daunting challenges to the reconstruction and development of Iraq. We have noticed that the Iraqi Government is making efforts to strengthen the prevention and control of the pandemic and taking multiple measures to stabilize the economy. The international community should actively fulfill its commitments, continue to provide assistance to Iraq, support reconstruction of key infrastructure, promote economic diversification, enhance public service capacity and improve the situation of vulnerable groups including internally displaced persons.

Over the years, China has provided vigorous support for Iraq's reconstruction and development through pragmatic cooperation in various forms. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been standing firmly with the Iraqi government and people, and immediately dispatched a team of experts to train medical professionals for Iraq, build a testing laboratory and donated epidemic prevention supplies. In January of this year, humanitarian aid supplies such as ambulances and generators were delivered to Iraq. 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be donated to Iraq in the near future. China will continue to work with the international community to help the Iraqi government and people cope with difficulties and challenges and achieve peace, stability and development at an early date.

Thank you, Madam President.

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