UN chief Antonio Guterres welcomed Iraq’s new government under the leadership of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and called for “meaningful reforms”. Iraq’s Council of Representatives approved Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s appointment as the Prime Minister and the proposed cabinet on May 6 which ended almost five months of political deadlock.
UN Secretary-General encouraged the swift implementation of government formation and appointing women to vacant cabinet positions to increase their active participation in policy decisions. Guterres reaffirmed the United Nations’ commitment to supporting Iraq in their efforts to address the pandemic and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“He reiterates the importance of acting in the interest of all Iraqis through a political process in which women, youth and all of Iraq’s diverse communities, including ethnic and religious minorities, can participate actively,” said Secretary-General’s spokesperson in a statement.
UN Special Representative in Iraq acknowledged the “uphill battle” faced by the newly formed government as economic crisis compounded by pandemic looms large. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said in a statement that the government should also focus on tacking the long-standing challenges of corruption, public service delivery, and strengthening justice and accountability.
“The United Nations stands ready to assist in identifying the opportunities and tackling the challenges, working in partnership with Iraqis to build a prosperous and stable future for their country,” said Hennis-Plasschaert.
Last month, Iraqi President Barham Saleh had named intelligence chief Mustafa Al-Kadhimi as the new Prime Minister-designate in another bid to contain the political crisis. The announcement came soon after predecessor Adnan Zurfi handed over his resignation citing “internal and external reasons” that prevented him from carrying out his duties.
According to media reports, Kadhimi enjoys widespread support unlike the former PM-designates and has close links with the US. Addressing the lawmakers on May 6, the Iraqi PM said that the current government came as a response to the social, economic and political crises our country is facing and it will provide solutions.