The meeting was called to order at 10.50 a.m.

The President (spoke in French): In accordance with rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite the representative of Iraq to participate in this meeting.

In accordance with rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, Special Representative of the Secretary- General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, to participate in this meeting.

On behalf of the Council, I welcome Mr. Mladenov, who is joining today’s meeting via video-teleconference from Baghdad.

The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda.

I wish to draw the attention of Council members to document S/2014/480, which contains the third report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 4 of Security Council resolution 2107 (2013). I also wish to draw the attention of Council members to document S/2014/485, which contains the third report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 6 of resolution 2110 (2013).

I now give the floor to Mr. Mladenov.

Mr. Mladenov, Special Representative of the Secretary- General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq: Please allow me to begin by first wishing a blessed holy month of Ramadan to all our Muslim friends and colleagues, and by saying to them Ramadan kareem.

I am honoured to present to the Council today two reports on behalf of the Secretary-General. The first is pursuant to resolution 2110 (2013), on the activities of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the most recent developments in Iraq. The second is pursuant to resolution 2107 (2013), related to relations between Iraq and Kuwait.

In my first and second briefings to the Security Council in November of last year (see S/PV.7068) and in March this year (see S/PV.7149), I spoke of how eastern Syria and western Iraq were becoming one battlefield. On 29 June, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) — also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham or simply the Islamic State — took down a military outpost on the Iraq/Syria border and declared control over parts of both countries. This group, which is listed under the United Nations sanctions regime as an Al-Qaida affiliate, has taken over Iraq’s second largest city and is now in control of about one-third of the country. In so doing, it took some $450 million from the coffers of the Iraqi Central Bank in Mosul. It controls critical infrastructure, including oil fields and pipelines. It has substantially increased its military capabilities.

From a splinter group of Al-Qaida, ISIL today has grown to be a complex threat to peace and security in Iraq, the entire region and beyond. Its terrorist acts are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivations. Recruiting and using foreign fighters, and engaging in murder, hostage-taking, kidnappings, gross human rights violations are all reasons why the international community and the Security Council should demand in no uncertain terms that ISIL cease all hostilities and atrocities, and call upon Member States to cooperate in efforts to enforce existing sanctions and hold accountable the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these horrific terrorist acts, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

ISIL’s strategy has been clear from the very beginning. It has aimed to establish a permanent foothold beyond the control of the authorities through terror and violence. It has sought to radicalize people by exploiting legitimate grievances.It has manipulated divisions within Iraqi society with the intention of exacerbating sectarian divides, fomenting social unrest and undermining the Government and elected representatives.

Just over the course of the past few weeks, minorities in the Ninewa province have come under direct attack by ISIL. Christians have been given an ultimatum to convert, pay a tax, leave, or face imminent execution. Shia, Turkmen, Yazidis and Shabaks are facing systematic abductions, killings or the destruction of their property. The houses of minority residents in the city have been marked. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced or forced to flee and seek refuge, while many others have been executed or kidnapped. These repugnant acts, which form one part of a growing tragedy of displacement, have been strongly condemned by the Iraqi Parliament, Government and religious authorities, as well as the Secretary-General and the Security Council.

Since the beginning of the year, an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis have lost their homes. More than three-quarters of them are displaced in areas that are not under the Government’s control or in highly insecure zones. Millions more remain trapped in areas of fighting. The United Nations has identified over 1,600 sites of displacement across the country. The picture emerging is highly concerning.

The governorates of the Kurdistan region of Iraq now host over 300,000 newly displaced, and their capacity to respond has been overwhelmed. This new influx joins the more than 225,000 Syrian refugees who had already sought protection in the three Kurdish provinces of Iraq. I would like to commend the efforts of the thousands of host families across Iraq and all local and national officials who are involved in the humanitarian response.

Let me assure the Council that the United Nations will continue to work closely and in coordination with the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to address the urgent humanitarian needs of those displaced by the current conflict. Let me also be unequivocally clear. We will spare no effort to reach all who have been affected by the fighting, no matter where they are.

I would like to strongly welcome the Government of Iraq’s decision to allocate $400 million to address the needs of the displaced. The United Nations is ready to assist with the disbursement of the funds and to help augment the Iraqi Government’s efforts to that end. The United Nations stands ready to work with the authorities to take expeditious steps to establish a comprehensive registration system that covers all of Iraq, and will help assist with tracking displacement. I would also like to thank Member States for their generosity, and in particular the recent pledge by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of $500 million, which will allow the United Nations to continue to provide life-saving support, including shelter suited to both winter and summer.

The spreading violence is having a grave impact on the human rights situation in Iraq. UNAMI closely monitors and reports on the impact of the conflict on civilians and civilian infrastructure. The Mission also conducts direct advocacy with political, civic and religious leaders with the aim of mitigating the effects of the violence and by raising the awareness of all parties to the conflict concerning their obligations to protect civilians. UNAMI and the United Nations country team are devoting all available resources to ensuring the coordination of the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians impacted by the violence.

Despite our efforts, however, between January and June this year, 5,500 were killed and some 12,000 wounded. Almost 900 people have died in July alone. I extend my deepest condolences to the families of all civilian casualties, to the victims of terrorism, and to the members of the Iraqi security forces who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

UNAMI has serious concerns regarding the safety and protection of civilians in areas affected by violence, particularly the members of vulnerable groups, such as women, female-headed households, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and diverse ethnic, religious and cultural communities. We have received reports of women being targeted and having severe restrictions placed on their freedoms in areas under ISIL control. I am also alarmed by the killing and maiming of children due to indiscriminate attacks, including shelling on populated areas, and the ongoing recruitment and use of children as young as 12 by all parties.

I would like to call upon all actors to the conflict to ensure that human rights standards and international humanitarian law are respected and upheld throughout all phases of the armed conflict, and to ensure the protection of innocent civilians, social infrastructure, and cultural and historic heritage. The Government of Iraq must do all it can to hold accountable any individual who commits violations of international humanitarian law or violations or abuses of human rights law. Civilians must be guaranteed that they can leave areas affected by the violence in dignity and safety, and must have their right to access humanitarian assistance respected. All parties must establish humanitarian corridors, especially for besieged communities, and respect the right of impartial organizations to provide humanitarian assistance for those in need.

As the cycle of violence and instability in Iraq continues, many ask what can be done to turn the tide. It is clear that Iraq will never be as it was before the fall of Mosul. While ISIL remains the most significant threat to the sovereignty of the country, it has been joined in a temporary alliance of convenience by a number of other groups with different goals. Former Baathist militants and Sunni tribes have used the cover of ISIL’s advances to join hands. Their aims are wide ranging; some are broadly sectarian, others are anti-Government or seek the overhaul of the constitutional order.

ISIL and associated armed groups have waged fierce battles against the Iraqi security forces, and have captured large portions of the governorates of Ninewa, Anbar, Salah al-Din and Kirkuk, and parts of Diyalah. They pose a direct threat to vital infrastructure, including the Bayji refinery and a number of airbases, access to which would substantially increase their financial and security resources. In response to the crisis, forces from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, also known as the Peshmerga, have moved into areas vacated by Iraqi security forces, including in the disputed internal boundary areas, and are currently engaged in battles with ISIL as well.

The solution to the crisis cannot be found in the toolbox of military operations alone. If any security plan is to succeed, it will need to be broadly accepted across the political, sectarian and ethnic divide; it will need to be implemented in full cooperation between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government; and it must be implemented in line with international humanitarian law and human rights standards. And there is also one condition sine qua non that should be met for any security plan to succeed, and that is a very simple condition — everyone should stand together against terrorism. No one can disengage, as the threat affects all communities. Everyone should support the legitimate national institutions of Iraq.

However, we must be absolutely clear — a military solution is not enough, and alone it will certainly not be effective. In fact, it will be impossible without addressing the root causes of violence and implementing a political and social package that addresses the concerns of all communities without exception. A political road map and a comprehensive vision for re-engaging all communities in the country’s decision-making process in a serious manner are vital. Demands from Sunnis and all other components of Iraqi society that are legitimate and constitutionally sound should be addressed without delay. The impasse between Baghdad and Erbil must be solved immediately. Existing disparities in poverty and development also breed legitimate resentment, including among some Shia communities in the south of the country.

Addressing those and other such concerns can only be done through adherence to the democratic political process and the Constitution. A new Parliament was elected in late April in an election that saw a turnout of over 62 per cent. Last week, the political blocs demonstrated that they can reach agreement, when they elected the Speaker of the Council of Representatives and his deputies. The momentum generated by the election of the legislature’s leadership must now translate into the election of the leadership of the executive branch, including a new president and a new Government. Iraq cannot afford a protracted Government formation process, as the current threats continue to challenge the existence of the Iraqi State.

At the polls, the Iraqi people did not give any single political bloc a full majority in the Parliament. The message of those who voted has been clear — all groups must compromise and cooperate in bringing the country together. At a time like this, for any Administration to succeed, it must have substantial support from the communities and work on the basis of a clear programme that saves the country from terrorism, sectarianism and division. Iraq needs and must receive regional, interregional and international support. Iraq alone cannot face the current challenges without support from its allies, the region and the international community. The threat of ISIL is not and will not be limited to Iraq alone. Therefore, serious engagement among various stakeholders is urgently needed.

Allow me to briefly turn to developments in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and address the deterioration of relations between Baghdad and Erbil.

On 3 July, the President of the Kurdistan Region declared his intention to address the current political impasse through a referendum for independence because of an enduring deadlock over a number of critical issues, including the hydrocarbon and revenue-sharing laws, the status of the Peshmerga, the adoption of the 2014 federal budget and the implementation of Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution. The Federal Government in Baghdad has rejected all moves towards independence as unconstitutional.

I would like to once again highlight that the 2014 federal budget draft law remains outstanding, seven months into the fiscal year. As part of the ongoing dispute, the Kurdistan Regional Government has not received its anticipated budget allocations since March. That has led to the inability of the Regional Government to pay public sector salaries. In an apparent reaction, Erbil has also begun to export oil independently, which has been challenged by the federal Government. Despite UNAMI’s efforts to find acceptable compromises, strong disagreements remain.

Relations between Baghdad and Erbil have further deteriorated due to the exchange of harsh statements between their respective political leaders, which has led to Kurdish ministers suspending their participation in the Council of Ministers of Iraq. I call upon all political leaders to refrain from radical statements and accusations that may further complicate the situation. Indeed, today I am encouraged because Kurdish Members of Parliament in the Iraqi Council of Representatives continue to engage actively in the political process. UNAMI stands ready to continue providing its good offices and legal and technical support to the process.

I also wish to present today the third report of the Secretary-General (S/2014/480) on the issues of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives, pursuant to resolution 2107 (2013). Iraq’s relations with Kuwait continue to show strong signs of improvement. Kuwait’s donation of $10 million towards humanitarian relief for internally displaced persons in Iraq demonstrated its goodwill towards its neighbour. The normalization of relations is on a strong footing, and I am hopeful that the two countries will only draw more closely together, thus mutually benefitting from the increased closeness. The major element standing in the way of the relations reaching their full potential is the current instability in Iraq. As long turmoil continues, decisions on matters such as the missing Kuwaiti persons and property are likely to take more time and effort.

The Kuwaiti Government is understandably anxious that the security situation and the political stalemate in Iraq and its attendant demands will leave UNAMI with little time or space for its mandated role on the missing Kuwaiti persons and property. I wish to assure it and the Security Council that our commitment to that humanitarian endeavour remains clear and that Iraq remains devoted to implementing its obligations. The present report speaks of our efforts not only to keep the issue at the forefront, but also to come up with new ideas to see how we could move forward together on a subject that has eluded closure for a decade now in relation to the missing persons and since 1990 in relation to the national archives.

In consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, we have identified the International Commission on Missing Persons as a partner to Iraq. We believe that cost-effective scientific and technological means could help overcome many of the challenges in the search for missing persons. It is my hope that the situation in Iraq will stabilize to enable Governmental consideration of such proposals so that new means and techniques can be employed in the search operations.

I am also pleased that an Iraqi witness approached UNAMI to identify a grave site in Kuwait. UNAMI will work closely with the relevant Iraqi authorities to take that witness to the site. It is our hope that those efforts might also lead to tangible results.

The Secretary-General has called for more regular contact between the joint Iraq-Kuwait interministerial committee on missing Kuwaiti property in order to build a better understanding through the practical means of finding the national archives. I am pleased that Iraq and Kuwait have agreed that the property committee will now meet twice a year. The Iraqi Prime Minister made it clear to me that he will act on any information on the archives to help resolve the issues. UNAMI stands ready to assist Iraqi efforts in that direction. I also wish to inform the Council that we stand ready to facilitate more contacts between the two countries at all levels. Iraqi-Kuwaiti relations are excellent at a Governmental level. It is time that those relations trickle down to a people-to-people level.

The Kuwaiti leadership has reiterated its desire to broaden and deepen its relationship with Iraq. Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Buzstin’s proposal for a joint meeting of young Iraqi and Kuwaiti artists in Kuwait to exhibit their talents together as part of a United Nations event has been enthusiastically welcomed by the Kuwaiti leaders. The security situation in Iraq permitting, UNAMI, with the cooperation of United Nations Development Programme and the two Governments, will pursue the idea further. Iraq-Kuwait relations can also result in dividends for the region with Iraq’s relations being strengthened with all other countries in the Gulf neighbourhood. For my part, I intend to visit Kuwait at the earliest opportunity after the Eid to pursue the dossier and further Iraq- Kuwait cooperation.

In closing, I would like to express my gratitude for the trust that has been placed in me by the Secretary- General and the Security Council to lead the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq. I want to the note before the Council my personal gratitude to my team in Baghdad, in Erbil and in Basra, and to everyone in UNAMI and the United Nations country team for their commitment to undertaking their political, humanitarian, developmental and support tasks in a high-risk environment. Particular gratitude is due to our security colleagues and the Fijian and Nepalese United Nations guard units. I look forward to continuing to fulfil the mandate entrusted to UNAMI by the Security Council and I express my deep and sincere appreciation to the Government and the people of Iraq for their warm and cordial welcome.

The President (spoke in French): I thank Mr. Mladenov for his briefing.

I now give the floor to the representative of Iraq.

Mr. Alhakim (Iraq) (spoke in Arabic): At the outset, allow me to congratulate Rwanda on its assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month and for its great efforts to preside over the Council’s business. I should also like to thank you, Sir, for agreeing to convene twice at the request of my country to discuss the recent developments in Iraq. I would also like to thank Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, as well as his team, in Baghdad and New York, especially in the difficult circumstances our country is experiencing.

Moreover, I wish to welcome tomorrow’s upcoming visit by the Secretary-General and his team to Iraq at this delicate stage for my country, as a gesture of his ongoing support and the support of United Nations bodies for the political operation and to foster the establishment of democratic institutions and the formation of a new Government of national unity.

Notwithstanding the recent terrorist threats in Iraq, in accordance with the Constitution, the political effort is fully under way. The third parliamentary elections in Iraq took place on time and, by every international standard, they were a success. More than 13 million Iraqis came out to defy terrorist groups and security difficulties to vote. The Supreme Court confirmed those results on 16 June. The first meeting of the Iraqi Parliament took place on 1 July. The Speaker of Parliament and his two deputies were chosen on 15 July.

This week, the Parliament will elect the President of the Republic, who will have the task of nominating the Prime Minister and forming a new Government within 30 days. Thereafter, that will be voted on and achieve support from the entire Iraqi peple, including all factions.

In our statements before the Council, we have repeatedly emphasized the importance of cooperation between States and combating terrorism as an internationl scourge. Any reluctance to combat terrorism, whatever the pretext, is a grave error that will inevitably lead to strengthening international terrorist organizations, with spillover effects in the countries of the region. We have therefore continued to work on the consequences of the continuation of the conflict in Syria, especially with the establishment of terrorist organizations such as Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). What we have warned about is precisely what has happened.

A stream of armed terrorist groups have crossed the border from Syria into Iraq. Early last month, with the growth in the strength of ISIS, which enjoys full logistical, financial and military support from external sources, ISIS launched a broad attack in areas in the north and west of our countries, involving a number of major cities. As a result, Iraqi security forces had to withdraw. In areas controlled by the terrorist ISIS organization there have been abductions of diplomats and the perpetration of massacres against civilians, as well as mass executions — all of which constitute war crimes, as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has stated.

Terrorist attacks in Iraqi governorates have led to a mass exodous that has affected more than 1 million people, who have fled to the Kurdistan region and to other parts in central and southern Iraq in order to escape ISIS oppression. Refugees are enduring harsh conditions during the hot summer, which coincides with the fast during the holy month of Ramada. The Government of Iraq, in cooperation with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the relevant United Nations agencies operating in Iraq, is attempting to mitigate the suffering as much as possible so that the security forces can regain control over Iraqi territory.

ISIS has established a caliphate State in the territories it controls, changing its name to the Islamic State. In recent weeks, as part of an organized and systematic effort, it has targeted religious facilities and destroyed holy sites of both Christians and Muslims. It is also undertaking so-called sex jihad. The terrorist ISIS organization has issued a decree to compel Christians to pay heavy penalties or convert to Islam, be murdered or leave the city of Mosul. As a result, that city is now devoid of Christians. In that regard, we would like to express our gratitude to the Security Council for issuing a statement on Monday 21 July in which it strongly condemned the persecution of minorities in Iraq by the terrorist ISIS organization. The most recent report issued by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights, of 18 July, confirms what the Iraqi Government had asserted, namely, that the flagrant violations perpetrated by ISIS last month were crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Iraqi security forces are currently working with volunteers and tribes in order to confront terrorism and gradually to restore control. They are doing so while respecting international humanitarian law and attempting to avoid civialian casualties as much as possible, in line with the Iraqi Constitution, which provides that no one can be arrested or detained without a warrant and that prisoners have a right to defend themselves at every stage of an investigation.

Iraq is implementing a balanced international policy aimed at establishing cooperation with neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. We have enhanced our relations with the fraternal State of Kuwait through a number of agreements. Diplomatic relations are being restored through the opening of new Consulates in various Iraqi cities. Iraq is also making every effort to find the remains of missing Kuwaitis and that country’s national archive. In cooperation with other Government authorities, the Ministry for Human Rights is carrying out excavations and investigations in the governorates of Karbala and Al-Muthanna. Although no remains have yet been found, Iraq is determined to achieve tangible results in that regard. Moreover, cooperation with the Arab Republic of Egypt has been enhanced, as have relations with Iran, through the signing of bilateral economic and legal cooperation agreements.

Iraq continues to protect the residents of Camp Hurriya in Baghdad and to provide them with all of the necessary humanitarian assistance, even though they belong to the Mujaheddin e Khalq terrorist group. In that respect, we commend the efforts of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, Ms. Jane Holl Lute, in her efforts to relocate the residents of that camp to other countries and thereby end their illegal status in Iraq, a situation which has been ongoing for more than two decades.

We call on the international community to fulfil its obligations to the residents of that camp and to move them to third countries, especially given that my country has fulfilled all of its international commitments in that respect.

The Iraqi political leadership is aware that the national unity Government must take decisive steps to protect the stability of Iraq as a homogeneous State. Iraq can overcome the status quo by resolving problems related to national unity, participation and citizenship.

Moreover, the stability of Iraq is pivotal to the stability of the region as a whole, but no Government could possibly ensure political stability in the absence of security. The terrorist acts that are taking place in Iraq must be countered strictly through international and regional cooperation, so that Iraq can restore peace and security. Hence last month, the Iraqi Government, in two letters addressed to the Security Council, stressed the importance of the cooperation of Member States with Iraq in the joint fight against terrorism. It specified its logistical requirements and what it needs Council members and other States Members of the United Nations to do.

The support of the Security Council for the efforts of the Iraqi Government to fight terrorism, as reflected in its resolutions, will remain ineffective as long as Member States do not implement such resolutions, especially as concerns cooperation between the countries of the region, with a view to dismantling terrorist networks and working together to address the sources of terrorism, imposing sanctions and prohibiting activities that encourage Wahhabi thinking.

Failing that, we would warn once again that allowing an extension of the influence of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq would undermine the security and stability of the region as a whole and hence international peace and security. We therefore seek the Council’s constructive assistance in putting an end to its spread. Yes, the Council is capable of doing this. The Council is the principal international organ capable of putting into effect binding resolutions in order to force countries to fight terrorism in all its forms.

I would like to stress our Government’s desire to see the mission of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) extended for another year, as stated in the letter from His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs addressed to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dated 20 July 2014, in accordance with the applicable standards stated in resolution 1770 (2007).

In conclusion, we commend the efforts of the Mission in providing assistance to the Iraqi Government, especially humanitarian assistance to refugees and persons displaced as a result of terrorist attacks, such as the distribution of tents in order to allow children to continue to study and cooperation with respect to starting the polio vaccination campaign.

My delegation praises the visit of Mr. Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to Baghdad and Kurdistan from 15 to 18 July. In that respect, we reiterate our appreciation and thanks to Mr. Mladenov and his team for their dedication and hope that they will continue their efforts to assist Iraq.

The President (spoke in French): There are no more speakers on my list. I now invite Council members to informal consultations to continue our discussion on the subject.

The meeting rose at 11.30 a.m.