Thank you, Mr. President.
I would also like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq and Ms. Al-Jarahi for their briefings. Switzerland commends the work of the Special Representative and all UNAMI staff. We also welcome the presence of the Representative of Iraq among us. Like others before me, I would like to express our sincere condolences to Iraq and to the families and friends of the victims of the recent tragic fire at a wedding.
Iraq has a young, dynamic and rapidly growing population. This population is a promise for the future of the country. We note the government's commitment to giving them opportunities to realize their aspirations and more broadly to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous future. However, as we have just heard, significant challenges remain.
I would like to focus on four points:
Firstly, Switzerland welcomes the government's efforts to implement reforms. We hope that the adoption of the budget and the envisaged diversification of the Iraqi economy will enable them to be translated into tangible improvements. Progress is important on the economic front, including the fight against corruption. The effects of climate change and water scarcity have become major risk multipliers for Iraq's stability. Proactive governance that takes these factors into account in the implementation of reforms is essential.
Secondly, on a political level, it is encouraging that dates have been set for provincial council elections and for elections in the Kurdistan region. We hope that these elections can be held on schedule. Many women are active in politics in Iraq, as shown by their participation in the federal parliament as well as in the government. The two forthcoming elections provide another opportunity for women candidates. Hate speech and violence against women must be prevented. We welcome the creation of the Supreme Committee to Support Women's Participation in Provincial Council Elections, which will address these issues.
In addition to inclusive elections, intensifying dialogue on outstanding issues between Baghdad and Erbil is also important for the country's stability and progress.
Thirdly, the rule of law and respect for human rights are essential to prevent recurring cycles of crisis. It is important for the stability of the country that civic space is defended: it allows a multitude of voices to be heard. Furthermore, for national reconciliation, the perpetrators of human rights violations must be held accountable for their actions - including the violence against demonstrators four years ago. And it is obviously very important that the atrocities committed by Daesh do not go unpunished.
Before concluding, on a regional level, we welcome the ongoing efforts on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-countries nationals. We also reiterate our commitment to Iraq`s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In recent years, Iraq has made great efforts to become a force for dialogue and cooperation in the region. We encourage Iraq to continue to play this role and to maintain good relations with its neighbors. Dialogue as well as the respect for international law and relevant Security Council resolutions are essential to contribute to the stability of the region as a whole.
To conclude, we underline that UNAMI is well placed to provide support on all the issues raised. We also welcome the fact that the independent strategic review of UNAMI is about to begin. The results will analyze current and future threats to Iraq's peace and security.
They will enable UNAMI to support Iraq as it continues its journey towards a stable and prosperous future for all its people.
Thank you very much.