UN votes to end Iraq mission formed after US-led invasion

Political mission will cease operations at the end of 2025

The Iraq mission was formulated to lead post-conflict humanitarian work, co-ordinate reconstruction efforts and establish a representative government in the country. AP
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The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Friday to end the political mission in Iraq, established in 2003 after the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.

The mission was formulated to lead post-conflict humanitarian work, co-ordinate reconstruction efforts and establish a representative government in the country.

The Iraqi government asked the international body in a May 8 letter to conclude the mission by the end of 2025.

Iraqi government spokesman Bassem Al Awadi said the decision was “a result of the tangible progress that Iraq has witnessed in various ways, stability at the internal level, and the completion of the political construction process that began in 2003, after the overthrow of a dictatorial regime”, the country's state news agency reported.

The US-sponsored resolution approved on Friday extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, known as Unami, for a final 19 months until December 31, 2025, when all of its work will officially cease.

It also asks Secretary General Antonio Guterres to prepare “a transition and liquidation plan” for Unami to start transferring its tasks and withdrawing staff and assets by the end of its mandate.

Mr Guterres is also asked to help the Iraqi government to better prepare for free elections for the federal parliament as well as for the parliament in the Kurdistan region.

The Security Council said it supports Iraq’s continuing stabilisation efforts, including its continuing fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda and their affiliates.

In 2014, ISIS declared a caliphate in large parts of Iraq and Syria and attracted tens of thousands of supporters from around the world.

The extremists were officially defeated by a US-led military coalition in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria in 2019, but cells remain active in both countries.

There are roughly 2,500 US troops stationed in Iraq, largely in military installations in Baghdad and in the north.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani has contended that the country's security forces are capable of dealing with the remaining ISIS cells and the coalition’s presence is no longer needed.

The UN resolution also expresses support for Iraq's reform efforts aimed at fighting corruption, respecting and protecting human rights, delivering essential services, creating jobs and diversifying the economy.

US deputy ambassador Robert Wood welcomed the resolution’s unanimous adoption and plans for an orderly wind-down of Unami.

“We all recognise that Iraq has changed dramatically in recent years and Unami’s mission needed to be realigned as part of our commitment to fostering a secure, stable and sovereign Iraq,” he told the council.

It also authorises Unami to allow for progress towards resolving outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait, stemming from Saddam Hussein’s invasion of its smaller neighbour in August 1990.

In addition, the resolution says Unami should help with the return of internally displaced people, providing health care and other services, and with economic development.

Updated: May 31, 2024, 9:36 PM