New York – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged all Iraqis to come together and engage in inclusive dialogue to overcome the “deep political crisis” facing the country, expressing his concern at the upsurge in violence that has left many dead and injured hundreds over the past week.
“The Secretary-General calls on the Iraqi Security Forces to exert utmost restraint in maintaining law and order, and he calls on the demonstrators to preserve the peaceful nature of their protests,” his spokesperson said in a statement. The United Nations chief also expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wished the wounded a speedy recovery.
“He welcomes the successful meeting between the representatives of the demonstrators, local officials and the Iraqi Security Forces which has defused tensions in Ramadi, Anbar Governorate,” the statement said.
“The Secretary-General urges all Iraqi leaders to come together and engage in constructive and inclusive dialogue with the firm determination of overcoming the deep political crisis the country is facing,” it said.
Mr. Ban also welcomed the recent visit of a high-level delegation from the Kurdistan Region to Baghdad and the resumption of dialogue with the Central Government to find long-lasting solutions to their outstanding issues.
In addition, the Secretary-General voiced concern about the recent decision to withdraw licenses from several TV channels in the country and urged relevant authorities to reconsider their decision. He recalled that freedom of the press is a fundamental pillar of democracy.
Earlier today, the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) urged the country’s Communication and Media Commission to reconsider its decision to suspend the licenses of several television stations, while stressing the importance of ensuring press freedom in the country.
“Press freedom is a fundamental pillar of democracy, one that the United Nations takes very seriously,” said Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative.