The top United Nations envoy in Iraq strongly condemned today attacks that have claimed dozens of lives across the Middle Eastern nation since Sunday, in many cases targeting civilians.
“I call on all parties to engage in inclusive dialogue and to urgently work on defusing the situation to prevent an escalation,” added the Secretary-Genera’s Special Representative for Iraq, Martin Kobler.
“The United Nations stands ready to facilitate if requested to do so,” he said in a news release from the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), which he also heads.
According to media reports, a series of attacks – targeting both Iraqi security forces and civilians – killed at least 25 people on Monday. The wave of violence follows a string of attacks on Sunday which left 19 people dead and another 77 wounded.
Sunday’s violence included a series of bomb blasts in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. “The attacks in the disputed internal areas further aggravate the tensions there,” said Mr. Kobler.
Located in northern Iraq, which is home to a sizable ethnic Kurdish minority, Kirkuk did not take part in Iraq-wide provincial elections in 2009 because of ethnic disputes centred, according to reports, on a Kurd wish to be administered by the Kurdistan Region, and an Arab and Turkmen push for joint management of the province.
In the UNAMI news release, Mr. Kobler also extended his condolences to the families of those who were killed and his wishes for the speedy recovery of those who were injured.
Established as a political mission by the UN Security Council in 2003, UNAMI is mandated to help with advancing inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation, as well as assisting in the electoral process, among other duties.