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Chief of UN mission in Iraq urges Iraqis to overcome political impasse

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the chief of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), urged political powers in Iraq to overcome their differences and form a new government.

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Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the chief of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), urged political powers in Iraq to overcome their differences and form a new government.

In a briefing on Thursday, the UN envoy for Iraq indicated, “Many Iraqis increasingly wonder whether the national interest is actually ‘front and center’ in the ongoing negotiations.”

“After over four months of parliamentary elections, hampering the change and reforms the country so desperately needs has been witnessed in the Arab country,” the special envoy said.

The UN envoy also asserted the need for “a sense of urgency to overcome internal divisions, to agree on a program informing Iraqis on what they can expect in the next four years, to manage public expectations, and to rise to the challenge of meeting the aspirations of the 40 million people who call Iraq home.”

She further warned that “a weak home front creates vulnerabilities.”

“In the case of Daesh/ISIS for instance, this creates readiness to take advantage of any political and security vacuum. But also to continued external interference. In the case of Iraq, not a hypothetical point,” she added.

A national majority government is sought to be created by Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Sairoon Alliance led the October 10, 2021, parliamentary elections results with 73 seats out of 329.

Lawmakers met for the first time last month and elected a speaker and two deputies, Hennis-Plasschaert said. However, they failed to reach a quorum for the February 7 session to elect a president.

Within this framework, the Federal Supreme Court ruled that one candidate, former Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, is ineligible.

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