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UN* Stakeholders Must ‘Step Up to Plate’, Prevent Iraq from Becoming Arena for Foreign-Power Rivalries

Permanent Representative Stresses Need to Ensure Independence, Sovereignty, Non-interference in Internal Affairs

Iraq must immediately address the ongoing financial and economic crisis to build domestic resilience and prevent the country from becoming an arena for foreign‑Power rivalries, the top United Nations official in that country told the Security Council during a 24 November videoconference meeting, urging the Government, Parliament, political parties and others to step up to the plate collectively in such efforts.

“Domestic resilience is the best defence against any form of external interference,” said Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), explaining that several distinct, yet interlinked and mutually reinforcing, crises — on the political, security, economic, financial, social and sanitary fronts — continue to force the hand of the Government, pressing it into a reactive, crisis-management mode.

Introducing two recent reports of the Secretary-General (documents S/2020/1089 and S/2020/1099) she said the economy is projected to contract by nearly 10 per cent this year.  The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked further havoc on already extremely weak private sector activity and oil prices continue their extended slump, exerting downward pressure on gross domestic product (GDP) and domestic revenue.  In mid-October, a long-awaited economic white paper was released, providing a very useful overview of the structural imbalances which characterize the Iraqi economy, and describes a variety of much-needed reform measures.  It also acknowledges numerous opportunities which have been squandered since 2003, she added.

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Source: United Nations, November 24, 202.


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