UN envoy says Iraq is 'at a crossroads' after deadly protests

04.12.2019

Iraq is "at a crossroads" and leaders must seize the opportunity to build a "sovereign, stable, inclusive and prosperous" country, the United Nations envoy for Iraq said on Tuesday.

Briefing the UN Security Council from the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said thousands have taken to the streets asking for their country to reach its "full potential for the benefit of all Iraqis."

"However, they are paying an unimaginable price for their voices to be heard," she said, adding that since early October, when protests began and a bloody crackdown ensued, more than 400 people have been killed and another 19,000 injured.

The Iraqi parliament on Sunday accepted Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi's resignation, fulfilling a key demand of protesters. His successor has yet to be chosen.

"While talks about the prime minister-designate are ongoing between political leaders, I would like to emphasise the urgency of current circumstances," Hennis-Plasschaert said. "Political leaders do not have the luxury of time and must rise to the moment."

The special envoy added that "pursuing partisan interests, muddling through or brutally cracking down on peaceful protesters: these are no strategies at all."    (dpa)

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