NEW YORK – Strongly deploring recent clashes in the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah in Iraq’s Anbar province, the United Nations Security Council today condemned the attacks being carried out by Al-Qaida-linked militants and recognized the “great courage” shown by the Iraqi security forces and local leaders to counter the threat posed by the terrorist group.
In a statement read out during a formal meeting by Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for the month, the 15-nation body deplored the recent surge in violence in Anbar province, where, for the past week, media reports have citied deadly clashes between Iraqi troops and al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters.
Condemning the attacks by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) “against the people of Iraq in an attempt to destabilize the country and region,” the Council recognized that Iraqi security forces, local police and tribes in Anbar are showing great courage as they fight to defeat ISIL in their cities.
“The Security Council urges the people of Iraq, including Iraqi tribes, local leaders, and Iraqi security forces in Anbar province, to continue, expand and strengthen their cooperation against violence and terror,” said the 15-member body, stresses the critical importance of continued national dialogue and unity.
The Council in its statement welcomed comments from Grand Ayatollah Sistani welcoming internally displaced residents of Anbar to Najaf and Karbala, as well as the commitment of a number of communities – Sunni, Shia and Kurd – to meet the needs of the displaced.
Expressing its strong support for the continued efforts of the Iraqi Government to help meet the security needs of the entire population of Iraq, the Council acknowledged the efforts of the Iraqi security forces and local police, “whose members are also being targeted and killed in ongoing attacks by terrorists”
The Council went on to welcome the Government’s commitment in the protection of the civilian population in Fallujah and elsewhere, and to the provision of humanitarian relief. It encouraged the Government to continue working with the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and humanitarian agencies to ensure the delivery of relief aid.
Concerned about the impact of the violence on civilians, the 15-ntion body encouraged the safe passage of civilians trapped in conflict areas, as well as the safe return of internally displaced persons as conditions allow.
“The Security Council stresses the critical importance of continued national dialogue and unity, an inclusive political process, the holding of free and fair elections in April 2014, and the right to peaceful protest as guaranteed under the Iraqi Constitution,” the Council said, stressing its belief that this is vital to underpin a unified national stance against terrorism, and to ensure Iraq’s long-term security.
Reaffirming the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice, the Council members also reaffirmed that ISIL is subject to the arms embargo and assets freeze imposed by Council resolutions 1267 (1999) and 2083 (2012).
The Council reaffirmed the need to combat all forms of terrorism and reiterated that “no terrorist act can reverse the path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction in Iraq, which is supported by the people and the Government of Iraq and the international community.”