After a year-long process, the top United Nations envoy to Iraq today submitted reports on disputed internal boundaries to the country’s highest officials, with the aim of initiating dialogue over the contested demarcations.
The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) worked closely with Iraqi authorities at the national, regional, governorate and local levels to help them develop processes to resolve the boundary issue in the nation’s north.
“Our strong hope in presenting these very thorough and objective reports, which analyze these highly complex disputed areas in ways that nobody has done before, is that the parties will use them to start a process of dialogue,” Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and also head of UNAMI, said.
The mission stressed that the deeply-researched reports – with one prepared for each of the more than one dozen disputed districts – are analytical, not prescriptive.
“UNAMI has not made any suggestions at this time regarding the administrative jurisdiction of these areas,” it said in a press release issued in Baghdad, noting that recommendations on specific localized confidence-building measures have been included in each assessment.
Also included in the reports is a discussion paper on the future of the Kirkuk governorate, and UNAMI has analyzed four options – all of which treat the governorate as a single entity – which are based on the Iraqi Constitution, require a political agreement among the parties and some form of referendum.
“We are all too aware that tensions have recently risen in parts of the disputed areas, and also that there are more issues than just the territorial ones that divide the parties,” Mr. de Mistura said.