Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Iraq

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 18, 2023


Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert, for your comprehensive briefing. And thanks to Ms. Latif for your briefing on the situation of women and girls.

The United States welcomed Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani’s participation in the March Summit for Democracy, where he declared that the Government of Iraq strives to meet the demands and aspirations of the Iraqi people, and that combatting corruption was at the top of the government’s list of priorities.

We also took positive note of the Prime Minister’s focus on promoting and safeguarding democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and sustainable development, and were particularly encouraged by his emphasis on empowering women politically and socially. We encourage the Government of Iraq to maintain its commitment to those essential reforms.

Since the formation of the government, we have witnessed great strides in stability and prosperity. But the appetite for change is immense among Iraq’s dynamic youth – men and women who deserve economic opportunity and effective governance as a foundation for achieving their aspirations.

We encourage Iraq to work with UNAMI in securing these reforms. UNAMI is well positioned to provide assistance across the spectrum of social and economic challenges, including on elections, promoting and safeguarding human rights, combatting climate change, and governance reform. We also encourage Iraq and UNAMI to continue collective efforts to support the members of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minority communities.

We are pleased to see Iraq take steps to implement the Yezidi Survivor’s Law, and we encourage UNAMI and Iraq to support full implementation of the Sinjar Agreement as well as ensure that victims of ISIS’s brutality can access the compensation they deserve without burdensome evidentiary standards. We encourage Iraq’s neighbors to positively contribute to Iraq’s stability and prosperity.

The United States regards Iraq as a keystone in the arch of security and stability for the Middle East and its sovereignty must be respected. Regional integration and cooperation on energy, water, the environment, and trade will enhance security for all and will also create new opportunities for economic growth.

The United States will stand side-by-side with all Iraqis as they continue their effort, which has come at great sacrifice, to ensuring an enduring defeat of ISIS. The United States and the Defeat-ISIS Coalition will continue to provide support for this critical effort, at the invitation of the Iraqi government.

An essential element of ISIS’s defeat is the dismantling of their networks for recruitment and radicalization to violence, particularly those that prey on children in displacement camps in Syria. We commend Iraq for its efforts to bring home Iraqis, overwhelmingly women and children, from al-Hol camp, and we call on all UN Member States to repatriate, rehabilitate, reintegrate, and where appropriate, prosecute their nationals in Iraq and Syria.

Madam President, in closing, let me say that we are eager to see the UNAMI mandate renewed this month, so that UNAMI can continue to provide Iraq meaningful support as the country builds momentum in its transition from conflict to peace and prosperity. As the UNAMI penholder, we have circulated a first draft of the mandate and look forward to working with Council members in constructive negotiations.

I thank you.