UN chief visits Iraq to show solidarity

Baghdad: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met senior Iraqi leaders here on Wednesday during a visit aimed at showing the UN solidarity with Iraq.

“I am here on a visit of solidarity and confirmation of the commitment of the United Nations to support Iraq in consolidating its democratic institutions and promoting peace, development, and human rights for all Iraqis,” Guterres said at a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani, Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, the UN chief held a meeting with al-Sudani to discuss the UN-Iraqi relations, the climate challenges and Iraq’s need for international assistance in this regard, said the Iraqi premier’s media office in a statement.

They also discussed Iraq’s efforts in promoting human rights and sustainable development, as well as its “pioneer role” in reducing regional tensions, said the statement.

At the press conference, Guterres called on the international community to support Iraq in addressing environmental challenges and diversifying the economy, as Iraq is among the countries most affected by climate change.

For his part, al-Sudani said that, although his government has improved political and security stability in Iraq, the country still faces climate and environmental challenges such as desertification and low precipitation.

These problems “coincided with the water policies of the riparian countries, whether by reducing water flows or changing the course of the rivers, which constitutes a challenge to life in general,” he said.

Guterres arrived in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday and he has also met Iraq President Abdul Latif Rashid, Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.

Guterres was scheduled to visit Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, to meet with the Kurdish leaders.

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