Ensuring good governance, tackling corruption and creating job opportunities for youth are top priorities for Iraq as the country continues to emerge from war and terrorism, President Barham Salih said on Wednesday.
Addressing world leaders at the UN General Assembly, President Salih expressed hope for the future thanks to what he described as “important positive developments” in the political, security and economic sectors.
“International and regional agreement is important for the continued stability of Iraq and for combatting extremist and terrorist ideologies, but the most important task required right now is that of reforms in order to secure good governance for our citizens and to combat corruption and to offer work opportunities for our youth” he said.
“We believe achieving sustainable development is an important framework for all of this.”
Mr. Salih added that Iraq continues to face challenges. They include rebuilding areas destroyed by fighting and helping those who fled to return home.
All will require continued regional and international support.
“A military victory over D’aesh is important. However, we must be aware that there are still terrorist remnants that are trying to reorganize themselves,” he said.
“We also note the existence of dangerous hotspots of terrorism and extremism in Syria and other States, not to mention regional tensions and conflicts in the Middle East constitute dangerous elements and create an environment that gives terrorism a margin of return.”
For the President, terrorism and corruption “are two faces of the same coin.”
He said corruption funds terrorism, diverting money from education and other public services.
“The world needs serious action to establish an international alliance to combat corruption networks, and networks that smuggle and launder money…similar to the international alliance against terrorism. This will allow our country to regain our stolen assets and to uproot this dangerous scourge,” he continued.
Turning to the wider region, Mr. Salih called for more unity to move from “the era of conflict to the era of renaissance.”
He lamented the ongoing crises in Syria and Yemen, and underscored the need for “a just and comprehensive solution” for the Palestinian people.
President Salih expressed the belief that a stable Iraq will have repercussions for the entire region.
“Stability in Iraq is valuable and important and we must not take it lightly. Rather, we must work on entrenching it. And we expect our neighbours and international community not to make Iraq pay for their own disagreements and conflicts,” he said.