Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Iraq

Ambassador Michele J. Sison
U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 22, 2017


Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Special Representative Kubis, for your briefing.

First, we must express our support to the Government of Iraq for its ongoing efforts to defeat ISIS. To that end, as the fight to rid Iraqi territory of ISIS fighters continues, we commend the Iraqi Security Forces for taking measures to protect civilians while fighting ISIS in Mosul. The United States is fully committed to the protection of civilians in our counter-ISIS efforts and looks to all parties fighting ISIS to do so as well.

Today, I’d like to touch on three main subjects: the humanitarian crisis, building stability for the future, and accountability for ISIS. The United States remains deeply concerned with the grave humanitarian conditions in Iraq. Daily displacement rates are increasing, and more Iraqis are vulnerable now than at any time before during the recent conflict. The humanitarian situation is expected to deteriorate until families are able to reestablish their livelihoods. We urge donors to contribute to the 2017 UN Humanitarian Response Plan, which is currently just 28 percent funded. Funding the plan is critical to assisting those in need.

We applaud efforts by the Iraqi Government, UN agencies, and other humanitarian agencies to assist those internally displaced by increasing humanitarian relief capacity. We urge government authorities, including those in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, to ensure ready access to IDP camps as the international community continues to build capacity. The United States encourages the UN to work closely with both the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to continue efforts toward the voluntary return and reintegration of those displaced. We likewise appreciate UNAMI’s efforts to support the Government of Iraq’s dialogue with minority populations across the country.

Turning to the future, the United States remains committed to a united, federal, and democratic Iraq as defined in the Iraqi constitution. The stakes for achieving lasting stability in Iraq will remain high, and success will depend not just on the outcome of the military campaign, but also on the steps Iraq and the international community take in the coming days, months, and years. Iraqi-led, UN-supported stabilization efforts are as critical as ever to promote local reconciliation and prevent ISIS’ resurgence in liberated areas. We welcome UNAMI’s continued work toward these goals, and we commend your efforts on behalf of the Iraqi people.

Good governance is also central to enduring reconciliation. As such, we urge the Government of Iraq to continue its progress in implementing political, economic, and social reforms. These reforms are key to bringing an end to corruption and protecting the civil rights and religious freedoms of all Iraqis.

Finally, we support the UK’s proposal for the creation of an international investigative body that will assist the Government of Iraq to investigate, document, and gather evidence of atrocities perpetrated by ISIS and other extremist groups. We must hold these perpetrators accountable.

Comprehensive efforts toward accountability and reconciliation will prove critical to Iraq’s achieving its full potential – which we all recognize is great – with long-term peace, stability, and prosperity for all Iraqis.

Thank you, Mr. President