Najaf, 13 December 2017 - Iraq’s victory over the Daesh terrorists provides an opportunity for the country to shed its painful past and confidently embark on the road to peace and development, the United Nations emphasised at a conference on national reconciliation in Najaf today, urging Iraqis of all affiliations to seize the momentum and build on it to ensure a prosperous future for the younger generation.
The call came at a roundtable discussion that brought together tribal, religious, academic, political party and civil society actors from the Najaf and Diwaniyah Governorates to gauge the opinion of Iraqis from all corners of the country and tackle challenges to the Iraqi national reconciliation in the post-Daesh phase.
This is the sixth and last of such regional roundtables to convene under the theme “National Settlement: Prospects and Challenges” since September. Their recommendations will enhance the process that will lead to an inclusive National Settlement to take Iraq into the future after years of conflict and divisions. The meetings were organised jointly by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Implementation and Follow-up Committee for National Reconciliation at the Office of the Prime Minister, with funding from the Governments of Germany and the Netherlands.
The representative of the Implementation and Follow-up Committee for National Reconciliation at the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Ali Abbas, opened the meeting in Najaf with an overview of the National Settlement document, which he explained forms the basis for national reconciliation.
“There is no alternative to the settlement, or to reconciliation. It is a necessity. The other choices are: No stability, No security, No development.”
He said the National Settlement discussion should involve all components and groups and is open to ideas and proposals, but all should be in line with the Constitution.
Addressing the participants - 68 men and 28 women from Najaf and Diwaniyah Governorates - the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Political and Electoral Affairs, Ms. Alice Walpole, alluded to Najaf’s significance in reconciliation, a city she described as renowned for its spirit of tolerance and acceptance.
Ms. Walpole said the defeat of Daesh provides the opportunity to press forward on the course towards permanent peace, so that the country can focus all its energies and resources on reconstruction.
“Reconciliation is a long process. We need to work together to develop a clear vision for Iraq’s better future,” the Deputy Special Representative emphasised. “We believe that all Iraqis need to capitalise on this momentum and build a basis for peaceful coexistence.”
Participants highlighted post-Daesh challenges with regard to national reconciliation. Opinions were diverse, from diagnosing the ills of the country and ways to move forward, to calls to combat corruption, ensure justice, hold perpetrators of crimes accountable, enact political reforms and work towards economic development.
They called for robust engagement of the United Nations in the political and development fields, including on elections and education, as well as in capacity building, pointing to UN experience in other countries and how this can be applied to Iraq.
Ms. Walpole underlined that the United Nations is committed to assisting the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people in overcoming the many challenges.
“There is a real need for constructive dialogue at every level,” the Deputy Special Representative said. “I am certain that, 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, Iraq will be able to surmount post-Daesh challenges and build a better future.”
For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the UNAMI Public Information Office: email@example.com