Kirkuk, Iraq, 8 May 2018 – Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq Ján Kubiš visited Kirkuk on Monday, 7 May 2018. The visit is part of a tour of governorates across Iraq of senior UNAMI leadership to assess the election preparations and the general situation, and to explore the needs of these areas in the post Da’esh, post-election period and how the UN can assist.
In Kirkuk, SRSG Kubiš met with Acting Governor Rakan Saed Ali Radwan al Juboury, members of the Arab, Turkmen and Kurdish blocs in the Kirkuk Provincial Council. The SRSG also met with the Commander of the Kirkuk Police Directorate, Brigadier-General Ali Kamal Abdul Razaq Hamza, for an update on the security situation in the Governorate and the measures in place to ensure security, in particular during the national elections on 12 May, and was briefed further by the Ministry of Displaced and Migration Director in Kirkuk on the issue of voting of Internally Displaced People (IDPs). Following his meetings in Kirkuk, the SRSG met in Erbil with the Acting Chair of the Kirkuk Provincial Council, Rebwar Talabani.
Participants in the meetings stressed the importance of the Council of Representatives elections while raising some concerns; but in particular highlighted the critical importance of the provincial council elections in December 2018, to be held in Kirkuk for the first time since 2005. They also stressed the need to resolve contentious issues in Kirkuk soon after the parliamentary elections, starting with the convening of the existing Provincial Council, the review of the voter list for the provincial council elections, voluntary and safe return of IDPs from and to Kirkuk and stopping the forced evictions of IDPs from the city to camps, as well as issues related to missing persons. The interlocutors stressed a key role of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in facilitating or participating in resolving some of the issues.
The SRSG stressed how important it is for voters in Kirkuk to take part in the Council of Representatives elections on 12 May 2018.
“I encourage everyone to go out and vote on the Election Day. Kirkuk is a microcosm of Iraq’s diversity. Its people should be proud of this, proud of their different identities that should be fully respected by each other and by the authorities. They should work together to strengthen their unity while respecting this diversity and promote interests of Kirkuk and Iraq by sending representatives they trust to the parliament in Baghdad.”
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