Baghdad, 10 December 2017 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš, congratulated the Iraqi people and the government on the complete liberation of all of Iraq’s territory from the yoke of the Daesh terrorists, the so-called Caliphate. With this victory attained, Iraqis are called upon to work towards building a better future and common destiny for all in their united country with the same patriotism and determination that marked their national war against terrorism.
“This historic victory over Daesh, came at a very high cost, the result of years of sacrifices. It would not have been possible without the people’s unity that is equally essential in the post-Daesh period. The world rallied to assist Iraq against Daesh, providing military and humanitarian assistance, but this victory belongs to the heroic Iraqis – all components of the security forces, including the PMF, the Peshmerga and thousands of local and tribal volunteers as well as the civilians that selflessly supported them and the internally displaced people through many sacrifices. On this day, we remember all those who paid the ultimate price. Our thoughts are with the families of the martyrs and fighters from all around the country that stepped forward to save their country, and with the millions who have been displaced and are eagerly waiting to return to their homes to rebuild their lives.”
The Special Representative commended all liberation forces, and particularly Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, for the extraordinary efforts they have made to save and protect the lives of civilians, in sharp contrast to the terrorists who have deliberately targeted civilians in their attacks, used them as human shields and inhumanely massacred minorities during the 3 ½ year fight, which in many instances took place in urban areas and densely populated residential neighborhoods.
Yet, the fight against global terror does not end with this milestone victory. Terrosim remains a constant threat, the battle against its roots and promoters continues. Only by defeating its loathsome “takfiri” ideology, choking off its external support, and addressing the causes that prompted so many Iraqis to join or tolerate Daesh can this terrorist organization finally be eliminated. While doing so, it is imperative that the authorities continue to take all necessary measures to protect the civilians from the terrorists.
The end of the fight against Daesh brings to the fore the key priorities of holding general elections on schedule on 12 May 2018, and the voluntary return of the displaced to their homes in safety and dignity in the coming months. To ensure that the terrorists will never again find fertile ground to operate and thrive, Iraq also needs to engage in inclusive national dialogue and settlement accompanied by a process of grassroots and community reconciliation. Another priority is to find urgently a just and sustainable solution to pending issues between Baghdad and Erbil through a partnership dialogue based on full respect for the Constitution.
Ensuring stabilization, reconstruction and development of the many areas that lay in ruins in the wake of the battle to defeat Daesh and of the country as a whole and providing dignified, prosperous future for all the Iraqi people, including women and youth, are significant priorities. Succeeding in these endeavors requires building a democratic State on solid ground of equality and justice for all based on citizenship, deep reforms to radically change unproductive economy, improve governance and public finance management, promoting growth of private sector, cutting red tape and eradicating corruption.
A democratic State cannot be stable without justice, accountability and respect for human rights. The rule of law must be paramount over all the citizens to protect them and to enhance their rights, including the rights of women and minorities. Future Iraq cannot enjoy full stability, integrity and sovereignty without weapons being exclusively put in its hands, under the Government’s control.
“I am certain with the concerted efforts of Iraq’s leaders, political forces and its people of all ethnic and religious groups and their patriotism, assisted by the continued support of the international community, the Iraqis will be able to weather also these post-Daesh challenges and build a better future, a common destiny for all in a united, democratic and federal country,” Mr. Kubiš said.
The victory over Daesh also coincided with another threshold that has rid Iraq of its painful past. The UN Security Council on 8 December concluded that all the measures imposed in its resolutions 1958 (2010) and 2335 (2016) pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in relation to the Iraq oil-for-food programme had been fully implemented.
Mr. Kubiš welcomed this development. “Iraqis have regained their country by freeing it from Daesh. With this latest Security Council decision, Iraq has fully reclaimed its full place as a proud and equal member of the community of nations.”
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