UN chief in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi leaders
Updated: 2014-01-14 10:06
BAGHDAD -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon held meetings on Monday with Iraqi leaders and urged them to deal with the roots of the problems in Anbar province.
"I would urge the Iraqi leaders to address the root that causes the problem. They should ensure that nobody was left behind to reach a political cohesion, social cohesion and inclusive political dialogue," Ban said in a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad.
The UN chief said that he is concerned about the violence in Iraq's Anbar province, saying "I am deeply concerned by the escalation of violence in Anbar province", stressing that the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people must unite in addressing such problem.
For his part, Maliki said he reviewed with Ban what has been achieved during security operations against the terrorism in Anbar province, and that "we discussed the progress achieved in the relations between Iraq and Kuwait, as well as the Syrian crisis and how to stop fighting and sit down at the negotiating table."
Maliki thanked Ban Ki-moon, the UN Security Council and the United nations for their support to Iraq in its war against terrorism, and said "we have presented a proposal for a UN position against those states who sponsor terrorism, and Ban promised us that he would work on that as soon as he return to New York."
On January 10, the UN Security Council strongly condemned recent attacks committed by al-Qaida terrorists in Iraq's western province of Anbar, reaffirming the need to combat terrorism by all means.
"The Security Council condemns the attacks that are being perpetrated by al-Qaida affiliate, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), against the people of Iraq in an attempt to destabilize the country and region," said a presidential statement.
Maliki also said that there might be obstacles in holding Geneva II conference, but there is not any alternative option, " the alternative would be a disaster not only to Iraq, but to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, the whole region and the whole world."
Ban Ki-moon is also scheduled to hold a meeting with Osama al- Nujaifi, the Speaker of the Iraqi parliament in Nujaifi's office in the parliament building in Baghdad Green Zone. He is also expected to meet with Vice President Khudair al-Khuzaie as well as other political leaders and top officials.
Earlier in the day, the UN chief arrived in Baghdad airport for an official two-day visit. His last visit to Iraq was on December 6, 2012, in which he held talks with the Iraqi leaders over political developments in the region, including Iraq's relations with neighboring Kuwait.