US vows to help Iraq promote stability in face of `enemies’

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The brand new U.S. administration mentioned Tuesday a prime precedence in Iraq is to assist the nation assert its sovereignty “in the face of enemies” by stopping a resurgence of the extremist Islamic State group and addressing destabilizing actions of Iran and Iranian-backed militias.

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U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills informed the U.N. Safety Council that President Joe Biden’s administration “supports a strategic partnership with a stable, democratic Iraq,” together with backing efforts to manage militias and advising and helping the nation’s counter-terrorism forces.

America may even be “a steady, reliable partner that supports Iraq’s anti-corruption and economic reform efforts, strengthens regional relationships, holds accountable human rights violators and those who abuse human rights, (and) provides humanitarian assistance,” Mills mentioned.

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The Islamic State extremist group seized Iraqi cities and declared a self-styled Islamic caliphate in a big swathe of territory it took management of in Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. U.S. airstrikes and a U.S.-backed, Iraqi-led floor marketing campaign led to the group’s defeat in Iraq in 2017, leaving tens of hundreds lifeless and Iraqi cities in ruins.

However the group’s sleeper cells proceed to launch assaults in numerous elements of Iraq together with on a market in Baghdad in December that killed at the least 30 folks and wounded over 100.

Mills mentioned serving to Iraq stop a resurgence of IS and dealing towards the nation’s stability additionally means supporting its efforts to carry peaceable elections on Oct. 10, 4 months later than initially deliberate.

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“These scheduled elections will be critical in establishing responsive and representative government,” he mentioned.

Mills referred to the a whole bunch of hundreds of protesters who’ve taken to the streets in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite south since late 2019. Protesters have known as for an finish to endemic corruption by a political class largely seen as having squandered Iraq’s oil sources by way of greed and mismanagement over time. They’ve demanded political and financial reforms together with early elections. The protests had been met with a heavy navy crackdown and a whole bunch had been killed.

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Mills mentioned the U.S. welcomes a latest letter from the Iraqi authorities to the Safety Council asking the U.N. political mission in Iraq often called UNAMI to supply election observers.

“We support international observation of Iraqi elections to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible, and look forward to working with Iraq, the council, fellow members, and the U.N. to determine the most feasible form such an effort can take,” he mentioned.

The U.S. is offering $9.7 million to UNAMI to help the federal government’s election preparations, and Mills inspired worldwide donors to additionally contribute.

He mentioned one of many highest boundaries to credible elections is the presence of “armed militias, violent extremists, and spoilers.” He urged Iraq’s electoral administration and key safety personnel to start out working instantly to make sure safety across the elections.

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Mills burdened that militias, together with these backed by Iran, and remaining Islamic State components are killing Iraqis, attacking U.N. convoys, concentrating on diplomats and non-governmental organizations, “and depriving Iraq of much-needed economic relief and foreign investment.”

He pointed to Monday’s rocket assault exterior Irbil worldwide airport, close to the place U.S. forces are primarily based within the semi-autonomous Kurdish-run area of northern Iraq, killing a civilian contractor working for the U.S.-led coalition and injuring at the least eight different folks together with an American.

U.N. particular envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert informed the council that “reckless attempts to inflame tensions,” like the Irbil attack, “pose grave threats to Iraq’s stability.”

She mentioned “a positive, stable relationship between federal Iraq and the Kurdistan region is absolutely essential to the stability of the whole country.” And she or he lamented “the harsh reality” that Baghdad and Irbil have didn’t agree on key legal guidelines together with on sharing oil income and disputed territories.

As for the October election, Hennis-Plasschaert mentioned parliament has handed laws to finance the voting course of, and countrywide registration of candidates and alliances in addition to the updating of voter lists has begun. However she mentioned parliament should instantly finalize the Federal Supreme Court docket legislation as a result of the courtroom certifies election outcomes.

Wanting on the yr forward, she mentioned, “Iraqis hope to turn the page on a number of fronts: recovery from the pandemic, elections, economic reform, strengthening the rule of law and delivering a more secure environment for all.”

However this requires decisive and concerted motion, together with significant reforms and refuting “poisonous” misinformation and conspiracies, Hennis-Plasschaert burdened.

“For elections to be trusted, unfounded theories must be disproved, baseless accusations refuted, intimidation replaced with accountability,” she mentioned. “Transparency must rule and loyalties cannot be for sale.”

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