Like my colleagues, I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for her briefing, but above all for her five years of intense work, which was also expressed by her attachment to the country in and for which she served. I would also like to welcome the presence among us of the representative of Iraq and the representative of Kuwait.
The statement by the Special Representative and the Secretary-General's latest report bear witness to the progress Iraq has made in reconstruction and reconciliation. This work has been supported by UNAMI with great skill. We encourage the Iraqi government to maintain its commitment to economic reform, the fight against corruption and the improvement of public services. I would like to focus on four points:
Firstly, on the political front, an important step for democracy in Iraq was taken with the first provincial council elections in ten years. The fact that these elections took place in an orderly fashion and that women reached the quota laid down by law is positive. The provincial councils must now work to meet the legitimate aspirations of the population - such as access to quality public services. At the same time, we hope that the legislative elections in the Kurdistan region can be held quickly. Switzerland also calls for an intensification of the dialogue on the issues still outstanding between Baghdad and Erbil. In addition, continued implementation of the government's plans to diversify the economy will give the population economic prospects - also essential for stability and peace in Iraq.
Secondly, on the security and regional front, we are concerned about the growing impact of the hostilities in Gaza on the region. In Iraq, security incidents have increased sharply over the last four months. In order to achieve a de-escalation, it is important that all parties show maximum restraint, that the Iraqi state controls the use of force on its territory and that Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected. In recent years, Iraq has developed a dynamic of dialogue and cooperation in the region. These efforts are all the more important in the current context. We also welcome Iraq's willingness to find a regional approach to deal with the negative effects of climate change and water shortages.
Thirdly, the promotion of the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms remain essential. In this respect, the provision of civil documentation for all individuals is central to access to basic services. This is a precondition for realizing, among other things, the right of all children to education. Switzerland is categorically opposed to the use of the death penalty, and we are also concerned about the restriction of the right to freedom of expression.
Last but not least, we welcome the ongoing efforts on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals.
The United Nations, through the work of UNAMI, is well placed to provide ongoing support to Iraq in all of these areas, and consequently for the perpetuation of peace in the country. This is particularly important in a volatile regional context. As the New Agenda for Peace also indicates, special political missions are an essential part of this Council's toolbox. We look forward to the results of the independent strategic review of UNAMI. This review will serve as a basis for reflection on the future of the mission's mandate.