|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Security Council VTC on Iraq|
China thanks SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert for her briefing and welcomes the presence of the Permanent Representative of Iraq at today's meeting.
Let me begin by conveying to Ambassador Al-Uloom, and through him to the people of Iraq, our heartfelt sympathies and condolences over the heavy casualties sustained in last month's fire in Baghdad.
In the context of the SG report and the SRSG briefing, I'd like to make the following points.
First, Iraq remains in the grip of a grim security situation which compels us to keep up our unwavering support for the country's counter-terrorism efforts. Remnants of ISIL continue to launch attacks in Iraq, which have caused civilian casualties in the hundreds so far this year. The international community should assist Iraq in effectively tackling the problem of foreign terrorist fighters and securing the hard-won gains in counter-terrorism. Provided that Iraq's judicial sovereignty be fully respected, it is necessary to give play to the role of UNITAD and support Iraq in bringing the terrorists to justice.
A peaceful Iraq is contingent upon a favorable regional setting. China encourages the parties concerned to respond positively to the UN Secretary-General's appeal, uphold the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, fully respect Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and join in a collective effort to build a secure and stable future for Iraq. Any military operations to take place on the soil of Iraq must have the prior consent of the Iraqi government. Iraq should not become a victim of geopolitical maneuvers. We commend and support close cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait on the issue of missing persons and property.
Second, It is necessary to support Iraq in fulfilling the important political agenda of this year, namely the upcoming general elections. Iraq has taken active steps to press forward with the preparations and marked progress has been achieved, which China welcomes. We encourage the Iraqi government to continue its effort to ensure peaceful and smooth elections that fully reflect the will and aspirations of the Iraqi people.
Iraq has twice written to the president of this Council on election-related issues. The United Nations should, by taking on board the request from Iraq, in conjunction with the established practice, play a positive and constructive role in the smooth conduct of Iraqi elections. China has provided Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission with video teleconferencing system and office computers. We shall soon be delivering the second tranche of office supplies for the elections, as part of our aid package.
Third, greater unity is vital to a stable Iraq. China welcomes the agreement between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan regional government on the 2021 budget bill achieved through dialogue and consultation. We support maintaining the current positive momentum between the two sides in their continued search for lasting solutions to the issues of mutual concern.
China commends Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi's appeal for a national dialogue and looks forward to all intra-Iraqi parties taking a positive and constructive part in the dialogue with a view to enhance fraternal unity, inclusive reconciliation and faster integrated development.
Fourth, Iraq needs support in its response to the COVID-related challenges. We've seen some recent spikes in new cases in Iraq, which is very worrying. The international community should keep up its support for Iraq's response, focusing on the equitable distribution of vaccines. We encourage, and welcome, all countries in a position to do so to offer help to Iraq.
Since the start of the pandemic, China has sent a medical expert team and multiple shipments of supplies to help Iraq combat the disease. In addition, we have assisted in building a nucleic acid testing laboratory and sent two batches of vaccines in close succession to help Iraq tide over the crisis.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank SRSG Hennis-Plasschaert and her team for their work. China's supports the renewal of UNAMI's mandate. China will, along with the international community, continue to support Iraq in its quest for lasting peace, development and prosperity.