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UN envoy warns Mideast tensions could deal huge blow to Iraq

Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert walks in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf on her way to visit Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. (File/AFP)
The UN envoy for Iraq is warning that tensions in the Middle East could deal “a huge blow” to efforts to rebuild a stable and prosperous country following the defeat of ISIS extremists.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert told the Security Council on Wednesday that “we must spare no effort in avoiding this prospect.”

Iraq’s fragile government is walking a fine line trying to manage its alliances with both the United States and Iran amid rising tensions between the two countries.

Hennis-Plasschaert said Iraqi leaders are “engaging regional and international actors to ensure that their country is a meeting ground for stability and not a venue for proxy conflicts.”

She said she is “very encouraged by the government’s determination to bring all armed actors under state control,” but implementation will be crucial.