Trascrizione completa della conferenza stampa del Segretario Generale dell’ONU a Baghdad




  Baghdad, 1 March 2023 


Ladies and gentlemen of the media – Assalam Alaikum.

When I visited Iraq 6 years ago, wide swathes of the country lay in ruins. Millions were forced to flee their homes.

My visit was one of solidarity in a moment of urgency. Today, it is a visit of solidarity and hope for the future of Iraq.

With a new government in place, there is a window of opportunity for progress.

Earlier today, I had fruitful meetings with the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Speaker of the Council of Representatives, as well as representatives of civil society.

I expressed my gratitude for Iraq’s solidarity and support to the victims of the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

And I welcomed Iraq’s efforts to advance regional stability through diplomacy and dialogue. Today’s challenges do not recognize borders. Addressing them requires regional cooperation and coordination.

We also discussed the new Government’s ambitious and forward-looking reform agenda.

I expressed our steadfast commitment to support action that benefits all Iraqis – through the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the entire UN family operating across the country.

Action to bolster democratic institutions and governance at all levels to build trust.

Action to improve public services and tackle corruption.

Action to strengthen human rights protections and ensure accountability.

Action to halt armed actors operating outside State control.

Action to diversify the economy and reduce reliance on oil revenue.

Action to bring down high levels of unemployment and create opportunities for decent work for young people.

And action to build resilience against climate shocks and water scarcity that threaten lives and livelihoods in the heart of the fertile crescent, where agriculture flourished for millennia.

In all of this and more, national unity and the interests of the Iraqi people are paramount.

So, too, is the role of all of Iraq’s elected representatives.

I was particularly encouraged by the increased participation of women as candidates in recent elections – reflected in the historic number of women elected to the Council of Representatives. We all look forward to seeing more women across all spheres of decision-making.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

I commend the government of Iraq for its efforts to repatriate its citizens from northeast Syria, in particular from the Al-Hol camp, where so many Iraqis, Syrians, and third-country nationals – mainly women and children – remain stranded in desperate conditions.

Iraq’s efforts are an example for the world.

We must keep working for dignified solutions anchored in the principles of reintegration and accountability.

Continued engagement on the repatriation and sustainable reintegration of Iraqi nationals from the Al-Hol camp remains essential.

From here in Iraq, I want to send a message to all other Member States with nationals in such camps. It is time for them to significantly step up their efforts to facilitate the safe and dignified repatriation of their nationals, in line with applicable international law, and guided by the best interests of children.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

I will also visit Erbil and look forward to meeting the Kurdistan Regional authorities.

I encourage the federal and Kurdistan Regional Governments to continue moving towards a structured, institutionalized dialogue and concrete agreements – in particular on the pressing issue of the 2023 federal budget, as well as on the oil and gas law.

Moving from constant crisis management to a more robust, sustainable arrangement is the surest path to peace and prosperity for all Iraqis.

I reiterate the calls of my Special Representative for the swift and full implementation of the Sinjar Agreement. Stable security structures and a unified administration are essential.

We owe it to the Yezidi people of Sinjar to improve the security situation on the ground, ensure good governance, and promote the voluntary, dignified return of the displaced to their homes.

I want to express my full solidarity with the Yezidi people who have suffered immensely.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

Inclusive political and electoral processes are a guarantor of stability and progress.

I look forward to the conduct of the delayed Kurdistan Regional parliamentary elections as well as the planned Provincial Council elections across Iraq.

The United Nations stands ready to support Iraq’s electoral institutions, in line with UNAMI’s technical assistance mandate. 

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

Over five years since Iraq declared victory over Daesh, the fight against terrorism remains a collective priority in Iraq and in the world.

We must focus on prevention, to address the economic and social conditions that can lead to terrorism in the first place.

We must prioritize inclusion, to ensure counter-terrorism strategies reflect a wide array of voices, communities, and constituencies — including minorities, women, and young people.

And throughout, we must place human rights and the rule of law at the core.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the darkest days in the history of our United Nations – the horrific terrorist attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad which killed 22 of our colleagues and wounded many more.

This day forever changed the United Nations.

But it did not break our resolve to stay and deliver for the people of Iraq.

Today, as Iraq transitions from humanitarian to development assistance, I am here to underscore the United Nations’ abiding commitment to support the Iraqis in advancing peace, sustainable development and human rights for all the people of Iraq.

Shukran Jazeelan. I’m at your disposal for a few questions.

Question: Mr. Secretary-General, I would like to ask a question that last year, President of Kurdistan Barzani has said that he demanded from the Security Council to enlarge the mandate of the United Nations, especially on article 140 of the Constitution on disputed areas. So how are you going to play this role in order to solve the problems between Erbil and Baghdad?

Secretary-General: It is the Iraqi Government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Government that need to come together in solving this problem. The United Nations is not in a position to impose any solution to anybody. The United Nations is here to support the Iraqis finding their way. Iraq is a sovereign country. And this is high time for Iraqis to fully assume in their hands the decisions about the future of the country.

Question: Mr. Secretary-General, what are the most important challenges that you see in Iraq and what is your assessment of Prime Minister Sudani’s government right now? The other question is about there are some reservations or some comments on the performance of the United Nations Mission in Iraq, regarding mainly the files of the displaced people and those who are forcibly disappeared. Thank you.

Secretary-General: Iraq faces many challenges. Let’s not forget the dramatic situation that Iraq has lived, I would say, since its independence. And obviously, there is a lot of baggage in the history of the country. So, there is a political challenge to bring Iraqis together and to bring Iraqis together is essential, even to avoid any kind of foreign intervention or foreign illicit interference. Then, Iraq has an economy to rebuild. And I was encouraged by the Prime Minister’s declarations about the plan, the reform plan, and the planning in relation to aspects related to job creation, related to education and health, related to fight against corruption, related to all the other aspects of a solid strategy of economic and social development for the country. And then, Iraq has the challenge of being a rich country in a geopolitical strategic position. There are challenges coming from the fact that many countries would also like to have its interference in Iraqi affairs. And that is one more reason why the unity of Iraqis is so important. When Iraqis are united, there is no way foreigners can have illegitimate interference in the affairs of Iraq.

So there are many challenges and then there is a climate change challenge and the water scarcity challenge. I have to say that I’ve seen the Prime Minister totally determined to face these challenges. Water scarcity that comes from the fact that Iraq is receiving less water from its neighbours and of course, with climate change, there is a risk that we need to avoid at all costs. This is Mesopotamia – the land between the rivers. It cannot be the land without rivers. It’s absolutely essential to do everything to guarantee that Iraq will be able to build resilience against climate change and that the supply of water to Iraq meets the minimum standards that are necessary to preserve the character of this area that was the birth of civilization.

I think the Mission and our agencies are actively cooperating with the Iraqi Government in all aspects related to the support to people [who are] internally displaced and to returnees. But let’s be honest; I’ve been High Commissioner for Refugees for 10 years. I can tell you it is a very challenging mission and so we are not perfect. We sometimes might not be able to do everything we would like, but you can count on our firm determination to use all our capacities and all our resources in support to the people that were displaced by the conflict in Iraq.

Question: Mr. Secretary-General, you have been talking about elections in Kurdistan, and it’s very important that it will be conducted there; but there are still disagreements all the time of that elections, although your representative has been talking with the political leaders. Is there any ceiling, I mean, time ceiling for this, and how are you going to support these elections?

Secretary-General: First of all, UNAMI’s mandate allows UNAMI to give full technical support to elections at the national and at the regional level. Elections are not taking place in the moment in which they were supposed to take place. I can only express my hope that they will take place as soon as possible, because it’s very important to stabilize the political situation and elections are essential for that purpose.

Question: Good evening, I have a question; earlier today, you hailed the diplomatic role of Baghdad, including in restoring regional stability. Are we expecting perhaps any concrete steps in the coming weeks maybe, or like any new agreement, that might be like coming up in that perspective?

Secretary-General: Well, first of all, we fully support the initiative of the Government of Iraq that led to the Baghdad I and Baghdad II conferences. And the Prime Minister informed me today, that they intend to convene a Baghdad III process, and we will fully support it. It is my deep belief that it is important to establish a meaningful dialogue, including all the eight countries that surround this Gulf that some call Arabian Gulf and others call Persian Gulf, which shows that sometimes it’s not always easy to find common ground, But it’s essential to create mechanisms of dialogue. I do believe that trust is missing. It’s important to rebuild trust. The solution of the crisis in Yemen would be essential for that purpose. And my appeal is for everybody to work for the solution of the crisis in Yemen. The Yemeni people are suffering too much. And on the other hand, there are many areas where I believe cooperation would be possible: maritime security, protection of the environment. And one day, I know it will not be easy, I know it will not be immediately, but one day, I hope that there will be a new security architecture in the Gulf based on the principle of independence of each country and non- interference of any country in the internal affairs of the others.  

Question: I would like to ask about the negotiations between Washington and Tehran. How does the UN see this file? Also, do you think that with the armed groups here in Iraq, have you discussed this file with the Prime Minister? And how do you see this file in Iraq?

Secretary-General: I do believe it is impossible to come to Iraq and not to discuss the relations between the United States and Iran. So obviously, this was an issue that we discussed, but it is clearly a matter in which the problems that exists are not to be solved between the two of us. I want to reaffirm my strong support to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and my belief that the JCPOA was one of the most important diplomatic victories of recent times and my hope that it will be possible to overcome the difficulties and challenges and make sure that the JCPOA will become a reality again.

Question: What are the future plans for UNAMI in conducting the elections? And also, what are the plans of the UN and how did you help assist Türkiye and Syria after the earthquake?

Secretary-General: The future of UNAMI is something that’s obviously related to our permanent discussions with the Iraqi Government and with the Security Council. What is normal, what is natural is that the Mission develops its operations for the time necessary to consolidate its mandate and its contribution to the country. And that, one day in agreement with Iraqi authorities as things move forward positively, naturally, the Mission will tend to start phasing out and one day not to be necessary anymore.

We are totally committed to support the Syrian people and the Turkish people in these dramatic situations. We have mobilized all the resources of the United Nations. We made a flash appeal, and then two appeals for the two countries. We mobilized the funds of our Central Emergency Response Fund. All agencies are working night and day in order to be able to deliver as much as much support as possible to the people of Türkiye and to the people of Syria, independently of who controls the territory in different regions of Syria. The people of Syria are a very generous people. I am in Iraq. I worked in Syria for many years in support of Iraqi refugees. Syrians were always extremely generous. There were no refugee camps for Iraqis in Syria; they were living with the community. So, the Syrian people have shown an enormous generosity. Now, is the time… the Turkish people also showed that generosity with Syrian refugees. Now is the time for the international community to mobilize every possible resources and capacities to support these two generous peoples.

Obviously, during the exercises of its mandate, UNAMI will be available to fully support, to give technical assistance to all electoral processes in line with the wishes of the Government.

Question: Mr. Secretary-General, there was decision coming from the Council of Ministers in order to prevent Turkmeni language in Kirkuk. As you know, that it is one of the languages that is used in contact with the Arabs and the Kurds in Kirkuk. How do you see this decision on how it’s going to affect peaceful coexistence in Kirkuk?

Secretary-General: There is a dialogue process taking place in Kirkuk. That process has the full support of the United Nations. It is not for us to decide how this problem will be solved, but we fully trust the people and the authorities in Kirkuk to find solutions for all the problems that you raised. And we are convinced that this dialogue that is taking place will be successful and from our side, we will do everything possible to make it successful.