Following violent clashes in Iraq, Ban stresses need for dialogue, reconciliation
In a statement, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said the Secretary-General has been following with concern the political and security situation in Iraq, including the escalating political tensions and “the appalling upsurge of violence that has killed a high number of civilians over the last two months.”
Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded in recent clashes across the country, including in Hawija, north of Baghdad, where Government helicopters shot at militants hiding in the village, resulting in dozens of people killed or injured.
The past couple of months have been some of the deadliest on record in the country. In April, 712 Iraqis were killed and more than 1,600 injured. In May, the death toll increased to 1,045 and more than 2,300 were wounded, according to figures released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).
According to media reports, more than 70 people were killed across cities in northern Iraq with car bombs on Monday alone.
Last week marked the first meeting between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with officials from the Kurdistan in Erbil. Mr. Ban in the statement welcomed the meeting and underscored the pressing need for dialogue between political blocs in order to overcome the current crisis.
“The Secretary-General welcomes all recent dialogue initiatives including the high-level meeting convened by Sayyed Ammar Al-Hakim, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to the Kurdistan Region,” the statement said.
“[Mr. Ban] urges all parties to redouble their efforts to ensure that the momentum of national reconciliation is not lost to those groups that strive to reignite sectarian violence in Iraq.”
The UN chief also expressed his deepest sympathy to the victims of the violence and their families and called on the Government to bring the perpetrators to justice.