With the liberation of Mosul imminent, the international community must maintain a dual focus on defeating the remaining ISIS terrorists in Iraq, and on working towards post-conflict security and reconstruction, the United Nations envoy for Iraq Jan Kubis told the Security Council.
Kubis went on to stress that the imminent defeat of ISIS must also provide an urgent impetus to address the needs of minorities, especially their ability to return to their homes.
The return of all internally displaced persons to all liberated areas must be a top priority, as should tackling increasing incidents of kidnapping and paying sustained attention to upcoming elections in 2017 and 2018.
“National reconciliation can only succeed if it reflects the aspirations of the population, including women and youth,” he said.
Kubis also Urged Baghdad and Erbil to leverage their joint efforts against ISIS and to address such issues as border disputes and building a “functional federation” based on partnership, Kubis noted that senior officials in Kurdistan recently announced their intention to hold a referendum on the region's future later in 2017.
They had indicated, he continued, that their aim was to “show the world the will of the people” on the status of Kurdistan, rather than assert independence immediately.
Noting that the overall rule of law remained weak, Kubis said kidnapping was becoming an increasing problem, recalling that the National Intelligence Cell had met on 11 May to discuss the link between terrorism and organized crime, including kidnapping. The international community must vigorously pursue accountability for crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq, he said.
Meanwhile, the issue of internally displaced persons remained critical, with some 700,000 people having fled their homes since mid-October, he noted. Hundreds of thousands of others remain in ISIS-controlled areas, suffering lack of food and water and often finding themselves caught in crossfire.