A Long-term Constitutional Way Forward Needed to Improve Erbil-Baghdad Ties: UN Envoy
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A Long-term Constitutional Way Forward Needed to Improve Erbil-Baghdad Ties: UN Envoy

ERBIL - A long-term constitutional way forward is needed to resolve the remaining disputes between Erbil and Baghdad and improve the relations between the two sides, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, argued.

Hennis-Plasschaert made the remarks via a video link from Baghdad to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, during which she shed light on various topics.

"As you have heard me say before, we remain in ad-hoc compromise mode. Despite some intermittent successes in the form of one or two specific agreements [between Erbil and Baghdad], we are still in dire need of a long-term, constitutional way forward," the UN envoy said.

She added that "parties continue to express their willingness to come to the table, but in the absence of an institutionalized, regular, structured dialogue, sustainable progress will remain elusive."

Hennis-Plasschaert further reminded that Erbil and Baghdad have engaged in discussions but that the two have not yet implemented their deal to normalize the situation in Sinjar, which would hinder the progress on administration and reconstruction.

"Here too, the absence of an institutionalized dialogue and implementation mechanism between Baghdad and Erbil is being negatively felt, fuelling misperceptions and distrust," she noted.

Moreover, the UN envoy expressed strong concerns over the repeated assassinations of civil and protest activists in Iraq.

"These elections were a central demand of the protest movement; and yet, many of its members continue to be persecuted with rampant impunity. The assassination of prominent activist Ihab Jawad Al-Wazni just two days ago, by unidentified gunmen in front of his house in Karbala, is yet another tragic example."

"Now – the killers, the perpetrators, may think they have silenced a voice. The truth is: they have only amplified it. And our heart goes out to his loved ones and all of those who have lost friends and family in the fight to have their voices heard."