Top UN official in Iraq urges dialogue to resolve tensions

4 January 2012

The United Nations envoy to Iraq today voiced concern as he met with senior officials in the country’s Kurdistan region over Iraq’s continued political stalemate and rising sectarian tensions.

In a statement released after his meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in the city of Sulymaniya, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq Martin Kobler urged all political parties in Iraq “to work together in the spirit of partnership” and resolve their differences through “meaningful dialogue.”

Mr. Kobler – who is head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) – also travelled to the Kurdistan region’s capital of Erbil yesterday to meet with representatives of Iraq’s Kurds, including the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani and the Speaker of the region’s Parliament, Kamal Kirkouki.

Since last month’s completion of the withdrawal of United States troops from the country, Iraq has faced mounting political and sectarian tensions.

Last month, a series of bomb blasts at various locations in Baghdad in the morning rush-hour killed more than 60 people and wounded more than 180 others. Several other attacks have been reported against Iraqi politicians and Government officials in recent weeks.

Mr. Kobler’s appeal today follows that of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who yesterday expressed concern about the continuing political tensions in Iraq and called on the Government “to further strengthen its democratically-elected institutions.”

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