Iraq is struggling with a “pandemic” of corruption, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani told the UN General Assembly on Friday.
“Many international organisations have issued reports citing the spread of corruption in Iraq” he said. “We have diagnosed this disease and we have named it the corruption pandemic.”
He added that Iraqi authorities are arresting people from all walks of life who have been accused of corruption.
“We’re tracking down wanted persons, wherever they are and regardless of the ranks and affiliations,” Mr Al Sudani said.
“We must return the money that they have stolen, because we believe that there's a symbiotic relationship between corruption and terrorism and this is what we all want to fight.”
On climate change, the Prime Minister asked for more international support in tackling the crisis and greater efforts to guarantee the sustainability of water, as his country endures a prolonged drought.
He called for establishing an integrated mechanism to manage cross-border water resources and to address the effects of droughts.
Iraq, often known as the cradle of civilisation, is experiencing its worst drought in decades, he said, noting it “must not be allowed to die of thirst”.
He also called for establishing a regional group comprising Gulf states, including Iraq and Iran, because “these are the states that will be disproportionately subject to temperature rise”.
Iraq is ranked fifth by the UN on a list of countries most vulnerable to climate change.
He emphasised Iraq's role in regional stability and wants his country to be part of the solution to any international or regional problem.
Mr Al Sudani firmly opposed any external involvement in Iraq's domestic matters and stressed that Iraq would not serve as a starting point for any acts of aggression against other nations.
“We reserve our right to take the necessary measures as established by international laws and conventions to repel any violation of our country,” he warned.
In closing remarks, he said that it is now time for Iraq to reclaim its rightful position within the global community, following its “glorious success” in combating terrorism on behalf of the world.