Iraq demands end of UN assistance mission by end of 2025

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani says there is no longer need for the political work of Unami

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani says his country wants to deepen co-operation with other UN organisations. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

Iraq has demanded that a UN assistance mission, set up after the 2003 US-led invasion of the country, ends its work by the end of 2025.

Unami is no longer required as the Middle East country has made significant progress towards stability and wants to deepen co-operation with other UN organisations, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani said.

“Iraq has managed to take important steps in many fields, especially those that fall under Unami's mandate,” he said in a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The mission, based in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, was set up to help develop Iraqi institutions, support political dialogue and elections, and promote human rights.

Unami's chief in Iraq often meets top political, judicial and security officials in work that supporters see as important to preventing and resolving conflicts but which critics have described as interference.

Since 2023, Iraq has moved to end several international missions, including the US-led coalition created in 2014 to fight ISIS and a UN mission established to promote accountability for the extremist group's crimes.

Iraqi officials argue that the country has come a long way from the sectarian bloodletting that took place after the US-led invasion and during the attempt by ISIS to establish a caliphate, and that it no longer needs as much international help.

However, some critics worry about the stability of the young democracy, given recurring conflicts and the presence of many heavily armed military-political groups that have often fought battles on the streets, the last time being in 2022.

Some diplomats and UN officials also worry about human rights and accountability in a country that frequently ranks among the world's most corrupt and where activists say freedom of expression has been curtailed in recent years.

Iraq's government says it is working to fight corruption and denies there is less room for free expression.

Updated: May 10, 2024, 1:20 PM