UN urges Iraq to quickly form new government, top envoy warns Iraq is at ‘a critical juncture’

By Edith M. Lederer, AP
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

UN urges Iraq to quickly form new government

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday strongly urged Iraqi politicians to quickly agree on a new government, a call backed by the top U.N. envoy who warned that the country has reached “a critical juncture” that could be exploited by opponents of its transition to democracy.

U.N. Special Representative Ad Melkert also said the planned withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops by the end of the month is starting to impact U.N. operations, which are taking place “in a climate of uncertainty and volatility.” The U.N. has engaged the Iraqi government to ensure that its future presence is secure and sustainable that will require an increase in security, aviation, transport and “life support,” he said.

The Security Council issued its appeal to members of Iraq’s newly elected Council of Representatives to end their five-month dispute as quickly as possible after Melkert told the council the delay in forming a government risks becoming an impasse and is creating uncertainy in the country and “conditions that could be exploited by elements opposed to Iraq’s democratic transition.”

Melkert said the main political blocs have been discussing the need for a “partnership government” and possible power sharing arrangements, which he called encouraging signs.

“I believe that at this stage, government formation could benefit from the adherence to a specific time frame as well as a collective process through which a resolution could be reached,” he said.

The Security Council said the new government should be inclusive and represent the will of the Iraqi people and their hope for a “strong, independent, unified and democratic Iraq.”

In the inconclusive March 7 elections, the heavily Sunni-backed Iraqiya coalition led by former premier Ayad Allawi won 91 seats compared to 89 for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s mainly Shiite Rule of Law coalition, but neither won the 163-seat majority necessary to govern.

As the political wrangling for allies draws out, insurgents have continued their deadly attacks in what appears to be an attempt to take advantage of the political vacuum to re-ignite sectarian tensions.

The Security Council condemned the recent terrorist attacks reiterating that “no terrorist act can reverse the part towards peace and prosperity, which is supported by the people and the government of Iraq and the international community.” It is expected to extend the U.N. civilian mission in Iraq on Thursday.

Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Hamid al-Bayati told the council that in the past year violence has dropped substantially and the security situation has improved despite some terrorist acts.

With the withdrawal of U.S. troops, he said, Iraqi security forces “despite some challenges they face, are assuming full responsibility of securing the country.” He praised their ability to manage security “by enforcing powerful strikes to terrorists” and through law enforcement.

will not be displayed