Ban Ki-moon stresses need for international support at launch of new Iraq plan
Launching a five-year peace and development plan for Iraq today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to assist the violence-plagued country to follow through on commitments for progress in security, unity, resource sharing and other areas.
“Iraq faces immense challenges. We cannot leave Iraq on its own to cope with them,” Mr. Ban said at the launch of the plan, known as International Compact, at a high-level meeting in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt, that includes the foreign ministers of Iraq’s neighbours, representatives of the Permanent Members of the Security Council and other principal stakeholders.
“It is essential that we do our utmost to help the Iraqi people build a secure, peaceful, unified, federal and democratic nation, founded on the principles of freedom and equality,” he told the assembled.
Under the plan, the Government of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has committed itself to meet basic needs, protect the rights of all citizens and ensure the optimal use of the country’s resources for the common good, according to Mr. Ban.
“Prime Minister Al-Maliki has pledged to pursue a bold programme of reform to safeguard his country's long-term economic future. His Government is also determined to seek progress in the political and security fields which, I believe we can all agree, are prerequisites for Iraq's normalization and economic revitalization.”
He said the Government has also committed itself to initiatives to promote national dialogue and reconciliation, to adhere to a legislative timetable designed to strengthen Iraqi unity and to ensure the equitable sharing of Iraq's natural resources and wealth.
“Together, these efforts can build momentum for the political process,” he said.
Mr. Ban said the UN, together with the World Bank and other key partners will work with the Government of Iraq to achieve its vision. The Joint Monitoring Matrix, which is part of the Compact, sets out actions that would enable the Government to meet clear and realistic objectives, and will facilitate the monitoring and reporting of progress.
Turning to the international community, he asked for active support to all the country’s goals, along with further debt forgiveness.
“There is no doubt,” Mr. Ban said, “that more must be done to bring a halt to the ongoing violence in Iraq, the brunt of which is being borne by innocent civilians. Beyond the terrorist attacks and sectarian violence, a humanitarian crisis is stretching the patience and ability of ordinary people to cope with everyday life.”
“This makes it all the more important to develop a framework for Iraq's normalization,” he said.
Earlier today, Mr. Ban discussed Iran’s nuclear programme with the country’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Motaki, urging him to continue discussions with the European Union, according to a UN spokesperson, who said that the two also talked about Lebanon as well as Iraq, where the Secretary-General said Iran should play a constructive role in building a national consensus.