Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Inigo Lambertini, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al briefing in Consiglio di Sicurezza sulla situazione in Iraq —
Let me begin by expressing my condolences for the victims of the recent suicide attacks in Baghdad and Basra. This reminds us once again that the fight against terrorism and violent extremism must be our foremost priority.
Let me also thank Jan Kubis for his briefing and for his determined efforts in leading UNAMI and fulfilling its important mandate, in what remains a very challenging environment.
We reaffirm our support for Prime Minister al-Abadi and we welcome the continued progress made by Iraqi forces in the Mosul campaign, with the assistance of the counter-ISIL Coalition and thanks to the continued positive coordination between all the various units on the ground.
The humanitarian needs in and around Mosul remain unprecedented and increasing, given the ongoing large-scale IDP flows from the Old City. We commend UN agencies and partners, together with Iraqi authorities, for their remarkable work in providing emergency assistance and shelter quickly and effectively. Italy will continue to support their efforts.
We remain extremely concerned about the many innocent civilians still trapped in areas controlled by Da’esh militants, who continue to use them as human shields and prevent them from escaping. It is therefore crucial for security forces to maintain their focus on minimizing civilian casualties and upholding international law in the conduct of military operations.
Reports on continued enslavement and sexual abuse of women by Da’esh, especially of Yazidi origin, are also appalling. We welcome the commitment of the Iraqi authorities to address the issue of conflict-related sexual violence by ensuring full implementation of the joint communique’ signed with the United Nations last year, and we will continue to provide financial support for psycho-social assistance programs for victims.
Accountability for these acts, as well as the many other heinous and systematic war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Da’esh, is a priority. Prime Minister Abadi’s call for a Security Council initiative in this regard is an important step forward. Italy stands ready to work with all partners in order to advance the cause of justice and avoid impunity, keeping in mind the importance of national ownership.
As the military defeat of Da’esh in Iraq draws closer, we must not forget that the fight against terrorism is a long-term one, which requires a strategic and preventive focus, as well as the determination to address the root political causes of the terrorist phenomenon.
The unity of purpose which has developed in the fight against Da’esh is an opportunity to strengthen national reconciliation. The notion of a universal Iraqi citizenship based on democratic participation and human rights offers a compelling route out of religious and sectarian intolerance and tribalism and towards national reconciliation.
In order to prevent the resurgence of Da’esh, the focus must be on providing stability to liberated areas. As Coalition leader in the training of Iraqi police forces, my country attaches the highest importance to this objective. An effective and professional police force, ensuring security and the rule of law by forging a solid partnership with local communities, will be essential in order to avoid the resurgence of the terrorist threat.
Our Carabinieri have already trained more than 7.200 local and federal police units, and efforts are underway to increase this capacity. Furthermore, Italy is ready to engage with the Iraqi Government to preserve and consolidate the results achieved so far, also with a view to broader Security Sector Reform efforts.
This includes specific training on the protection of cultural heritage and the prevention of illicit trafficking of artifacts. I would like to thank the Secretary General for mentioning UNSCR 2347 in his report. This resolution, a joint initiative of Italy and France, will provide a helpful tool for integrating the cultural dimension into post-conflict recovery efforts.
Stabilization also means ensuring adequate socio-economic conditions in liberated areas, so that returning IDP’s can see hope for the future in their communities of origin. Italy supports the excellent work by UNDP in coordination with the Iraqi authorities. We also reaffirm our appreciation for the ‘zero tolerance’ approach towards corruption.
Achieving results on political reforms is equally crucial. We encourage the Iraqi authorities to make progress on a legislative package aimed at enhancing good governance, including an updated framework to ensure fair and transparent provincial and parliamentary elections.
Successfully advancing the reform agenda will be key in building momentum towards national reconciliation among the various ethnic and religious components of Iraqi society. Italy will lend its support to an inclusive political process, under full Iraqi ownership and facilitated by UNAMI, leading to a national settlement where all ethnic and religious components can find their place.
In order for reconciliation efforts to succeed, they must also address the role and status of Iraq’s minorities. These groups are an integral component of the country’s history and society. We are closely monitoring the situation of each community in Iraq, and have repeatedly expressed to the Iraqi authorities our hope that equality, mutual respect and freedom of religion are guaranteed for all groups and confessions. This applies both at the national and the local levels, especially in Mosul and Nineveh, where governance arrangements that encourage inclusion and coexistence will be crucial.
Italy’s commitment to the Iraq’s long-term peace and stability is steadfast. As the Secretary General underlined during his visit in March, this is a historic moment for the country where all stakeholders in the International Community, including neighboring countries and regional partners, must come together in the spirit of solidarity in order to help Iraq chart its path towards a stable, democratic and prosperous future.