Basra, Iraq, 30 April 2018 – Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq Ján Kubiš traveled to Basra today, part of a tour of governorates across Iraq to assess the election preparations and the atmosphere and to explore the needs of these areas in the post-Dae’sh period and how the UN can assist.
Mr. Kubiš recognised that the change on the ground with the military defeat of Dae’sh and the need to address the challenges of stabilisation, development, rehabilitation, training, education, health care, and the environment dictate a new approach.
“This is a new period in the life of the country, a post-Dae’sh period and we in the United Nations should be much more active and better focused in providing assistance for the needs of the people,” he said.
The SRSG’s discussions with the Governor of Basra, the head of the Basra Operations Command and the head of the Basra office of the Independent High Election Commission (IHEC), also touched upon the preparations for the 12 May 2018 national elections. In his previous visits to Mosul in Ninewa, Najaf and Anbar, Mr. Kubiš stressed the election as an opportunity for the Iraqis to make their voices heard and to effect positive change.
He reiterated this point in Basra, acknowledging the sacrifices made by the southern governorate which offered many martyrs from the many fighters who had fought against Dae’sh in the northern city of Mosul and other areas, as well as providing the country’s economic lifeline.
“We specifically talked about young people. Many of them are returning from the battlefields. They need a perspective, they need jobs, they need a future. The United Nations should help, and this trip was to get advice from the officials in which areas we should work more, how we should refocus our activities that should be of more benefit for Basra and for its people.”
Mr. Kubiš expressed hope the UN will work with the new government to be born out of the elections. “We hope that we as the UN will have a good partner after the elections in the new government and will work together with us on creating better conditions that would improve the lives of the people, including in Basra, the economic capital of the country.”
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