Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Acting Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 21, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Special Representative Hennis-Plasschaert, for being with us today and for your helpful and comprehensive briefing.

Today’s unanimous vote to renew the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq once again underscores the strong and continued commitment of the international community to support stability, prosperity, and security in Iraq.

Mr. President, as the Government of Iraq transitions from a period of crisis to one of sustainable development and political stability, UNAMI will be essential to enhance these efforts.

The transition is reflected clearly in this year’s mandate renewal.As Iraq enters a new chapter, efforts to stabilize areas liberated from ISIS, address the plight of internally displaced persons, and further integrating Iraq into the surrounding region must also be accelerated.Taken together, these efforts will help set Iraq on a path toward stability and prosperity.

It’s important, however, to note that the complexity of the challenges UNAMI and Iraq will face moving forward is great.We encourage the government of Iraq to fill the remaining vacancies in its cabinet and focus on delivering basic services to the Iraqi people.

Restoring key services, healthcare, education, and infrastructure are important places to start, as well as addressing corruption and strengthening viable and responsive state institutions—these are key components of Iraq’s own national government program.

Mr. President, the United States also encourages the Government of Iraq to rein in all armed groups under effective state control.

UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization, or FFS, is essential to stabilization, recovery, and reconstruction efforts.For its part, the United States announced in March a $100 million contribution to FFS for stabilization efforts in Anbar.Other members of the international community should consider similar contributions.The Government of Iraq should also make good on its pledge to the program or to projects from the UNDP’s FFS list.

This year’s mandate once again underscores the importance of supporting UNAMI’s efforts to help meet the needs of all Iraqis, including women, children, and members of religious and ethnic minority groups.This is an area of particular interest to the United States.

We continue to encourage UNAMI to work closely with the Government of Iraq to address the unique needs of these groups and individuals as part and parcel of the broader national and community-level dialogue needed in Iraq.

We also encourage the Government of Iraq to ensure the successful reintegration of children of alleged members of ISIS and children of former captives.Many of these children are indeed victims, and we call on Iraq to offer them the same benefits afforded to refugees and IDPs.

Mr. President, today’s mandate renewal is another reminder of the constructive role the United Nations can play around the world and especially in the Middle East. We look forward to Iraq continuing to lead the way in playing a positive role in its region. And we extend our thanks to the Special Representative and the entire UNAMI team for their continued excellent work.

I thank you for your attention.