First Published: 2008-01-17

 
UN sees Iraq progress despite misgivings
 

United Nations envoy to Baghdad says to present positive picture of progress in Iraq in his report.

 

Middle East Online

De Mistura: ‘We are going to compliment the [Iraqi] government’

BAGHDAD - The United Nations envoy to Baghdad said on Wednesday he would present a positive picture of progress in Iraq in a report to the Security Council despite earlier having serious misgivings about reconciliation efforts. UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said the passing of a key law allowing former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party to return to government jobs had changed what had been a pessimistic view of progress in a crucial year for Iraq.

"At the beginning of the year we were worried ... we were genuinely concerned by the lack of progress on national dialogue," de Mistura said.

"Today that has substantially changed. It has changed our mind from being worried or from being pessimistic," he said.

The law on reintegrating former Baathists passed on Saturday. It was the first in a series of bills Washington has pressed the Shiite Islamist-led government to pass to draw Sunni Arabs who held sway under Saddam back into the political process.

De Mistura had said in an interview with France's Le Figaro newspaper, published earlier on Wednesday but conducted almost a week before the bill was passed, that Iraq's sectarian groups lacked any true spirit of reconciliation.

He said in that interview that Iraq was running out of time and had six months to overcome distrust between the Shiite-dominated cabinet and Sunni Arabs and make political progress or risk a swift return to violence.

SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS

The passage of the bill was even more encouraging because it came at a time of sustained security improvements, de Mistura said.

"The current dialogue we are seeing between the government and Sunnis is also encouraging," de Mistura said, referring to efforts to get the main Sunni Arab bloc to return to the government, from which it withdrew last August.

De Mistura said he would leave later this week to deliver a progress report to the Security Council.

"We are going to compliment the government," he said.

The government must nevertheless press ahead with reconciliation efforts and pass other key laws, including a revenue-sharing oil law and a provincial elections law, he said.

"Iraq needs to maintain the momentum, 2008 is going to be a crucial year," he said.

De Mistura told Le Figaro that progress was needed, otherwise insurgents would be tempted to return to violence.

"Iraq will not be the same country at the end of 2008: the US officials will have changed...the international community will have modified its positions," he told the newspaper.

 

Libya loses control of Tripoli to Islamist-led militias

Iraq presses fightback against jihadist-led militants

Thousands of Huthis defy UN in new show of strength

Britain to go tougher on jihadist suspects

Saudi religious police at heart of new scandal

Algeria hosts new round of Mali peace talks

US launches new round of air strikes around Iraq dam

Turkey summons US charge d'affaires over Snowden claims

Turkey new PM promises peace with Kurds

Will UN Human Rights Council investigate IS abuses?

Iran convicts Ahmadinejad's vice president for embezzlement

Fierce clashes shatter uneasy calm near armistice line in Golan Heights

Turkey detains dozens of police in new nationwide raids

Wounded Gazans need long-term care

Libyan Islamist militiamen control US embassy compound

Israel shoots down drone over occupied Golan Heights

Yemen army suffers heavy losses in new wave of Qaeda attacks

Turkish army breaks silence on Kurdish peace talks

Islamic State offers grim inspiration to African extremists

Shebab target intelligence HQ in Somalia

Israel expropriates 988 acres of Palestinian land in West Bank

Iraq recaptures Amerli from Islamic State in biggest success so far

Saudi King calls for ‘strong and rapid action’ against jihadists

Jihadists distribute Yazidi women as spoils of war to fighters

Gulf countries resolve six-month dispute with Qatar

Egypt reduces Badie death sentence to life in prison

AU forces liberate former Shebab stronghold in Somalia

Philippines enters war in Syria!

Kurds put aside old rivalries to battle jihadists in Iraq

Iran says new sanctions cast doubt on US sincerity

US imposes new sanctions on Iran

US supplies arms to Lebanon to fight jihadists

Britain terror threat level raised to ‘severe’

Libya conflict takes its toll on migrants

UN chief lashes out at 'brutal' IS killings in Iraq

Over three million Syrian refugees have fled war

Libya's troubled interim government steps down

Obama admits 'no strategy yet' to fight IS

Israel counts losses and gains in Gaza: Heavy cost for 50 days of war

Saudi Crown Prince flies to France next week: Jihadist threat tops agenda

UN confirms capture of UN peacekeepers in Syria Golan

Islamic State executes dozens of Syria soldiers in new atrocity

'Jihad recruiters' arrested in Netherlands, Germany

Saudi Grand Mufti warns youth against ‘perverted’ calls for jihad

Neo-Ottomanism scores new victory in Turkey: From Ataturk to Erdogan