|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN Security Council Briefing on UNITAD|
I thank Special Adviser Christian Ritscher for his briefing, and welcome the presence of the representative of Iraq to today’s meeting.
China appreciates the new progress made by UNITAD in the past six months, especially the new discoveries regarding the alleged development and the use of chemical and biological weapons as well as the destruction of cultural heritage by Daesh. The collection and organization of relevant evidence are crucial for uncovering the terrorist acts of Daesh and supporting the accountability efforts by Iraq. We also appreciate the active assistance provided by UNITAD in strengthening the capacity building of Iraqi judiciary and supporting the digitization work of Iraqi courts.
While acknowledging the work progress, we also hope that the substantial amount of evidence collected by UNITAD will translate into concrete actions to hold terrorists accountable at an early date. The transfer of evidence to Iraq is an explicit requirement of Security Council Resolution 2379 and represents the last mile of the work of UNITAD. We expect UNITAD to promptly initiate the systematic and complete transfer of evidence to the Iraqi side. We do not support linking the transfer of evidence to Iraq's domestic laws or legislative process. When sharing evidence with third countries, UNITAD should obtain prior consent from the Iraqi Government and adhere to the principles of transparency and nondiscrimination.
It should be noted that UNITAD was established as a temporary and transitional arrangement in response to the request from the Iraqi Government to support accountability efforts. It is not intended as a permanent body. As early as May 2021, The team's sixth report outlined preliminary ideas for a completion strategy. This year marks the fifth anniversary of this establishment. We hope that it will engage in full consultations with Iraq to promptly develop a completion strategy including a timeframe to be submitted for review by the Council.
At present, the global terrorism situation remains grave, with terrorist organizations such as Daesh, Al Qaeda, and the ETIM still running rampant. As Iraq continues to be at the forefront of international counterterrorism efforts, the international community should continue to support Iraq in strengthening its counterterrorism capabilities, combating terrorism, and holding terrorist forces accountable in accordance with its domestic laws. Relevant countries should also take responsibility and cooperate with Iraq in dealing with the issue of FTFs in Iraq.
Thank you, Mr. President.