A Chinese envoy to the United Nations called on the international community Wednesday to support Iraq's pursuit of peace, development and a better future for its people.
Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, said at a Security Council virtual meeting on Iraq that in May, the council unanimously adopted Resolution 2522, extending the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) for one year.
"It is a clear message of support from the international community to Iraq for its stabilization, reconstruction and development efforts," he said.
At present, the government and people of Iraq, under the leadership of Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi, are working hard to address the economic challenges, advance the political process, fight terrorism and combat the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, adding, "The international community has every reason to commend those endeavors, and support Iraq's pursuit of peace, development and a better future for its people."
As Iraq is planning to hold early elections in June 2021, the political process in Iraq is at a crucial stage. Geng noted the international community should respect Iraq's ownership and leadership in all endeavors.
"When lending a helping hand, it is important to first listen to the views of Iraq, respect its sovereignty (and) refrain from imposing solutions and interfering in Iraq's internal affairs," he said.
Iraq has repeatedly protested unilateral military actions of some countries in its territory. Geng reiterated that Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity should always be respected.
"We join the secretary-general in calling on the parties concerned to resolve issues that may escalate tensions in Iraq through peaceful means," he said.
Geng stressed that it's also important to support Iraq in safeguarding national security and combating terrorism.
At the opening of the 2020 virtual Counter-Terrorism Week last month, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that terrorists are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to advance their objectives. He specifically mentioned that terrorists are continuing efforts to reassert themselves in Iraq and Syria. "His call for vigilance is further vindicated by the recent increase of terrorist attacks in Iraq," Geng said.
"We call on the international community to continue to support Iraq in consolidating the hard-won results of counterterrorism and addressing the issue of foreign terrorist fighters," he said.
Geng also called on all parties to help Iraq address current challenges and boost socioeconomic development.
As Iraq is now confronted with economic and fiscal hardships, exacerbated by low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic, Geng said "we welcome measures taken by the government of Iraq to tackle those challenges, such as enhancing preparedness and responsiveness to the pandemic, ratifying the Domestic and External Borrowing Law, fighting corruption".
Iraq has suffered immensely from wars, and Iraqis are longing for a stable and happy life, Geng said, emphasizing the international community has an important role to play.
"We must intensify efforts to help Iraq carry out reconstruction, diversify its economy, create more jobs, eradicate poverty and improve public services and livelihoods. Promises of help should be fulfilled," he said.
"There should be no blank check and no political strings attached. Amid the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Iraq, more international assistance is urgently needed to fight the pandemic and strengthen Iraq's public health system," he said.
Geng said China stands with the government and people of Iraq in their pursuit of peace and development.
"We support their efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and security. We join their fight against COVID-19 by sending our experts team and providing medical supplies," he said.