Mr. President,  

I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mrs Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, for her statement and for her work over the last few years and wish you every success for the future. We welcome the presence among us of the representative of Iraq and Kuwait.   

Iraq and its people have come a long way and aspire to continue consolidating a prosperous and democratic future. Since 2003, UNAMI has been at the side of Iraq, which has seen significant progress in recent years. This progress has also been documented by the independent strategic review. Today, we must all work together to ensure that the reconfiguration of the UN's presence in the country - desired by the Iraqi government - is carried out in a responsible, orderly and gradual manner, so that this process is a collective success. This is particularly important at a sensitive time for the entire region. In our view, the following themes deserve particular attention in this process - and beyond:

First of all, public confidence in institutions is a fundamental element of all governance and stability, whether at local, national or regional level. Switzerland welcomes the formation of 13 of the 15 local governments following the local elections. This step and many others show that Iraq has functional institutions. But challenges remain. For example, the further postponement of parliamentary elections in the Kurdistan region remains a cause for concern. Similarly, national institutions should be able to maintain regular, structured dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil on all outstanding issues. We welcome UNAMI's role in supporting Iraq on these and other issues. We look forward to continued progress in institution-building during and after the reconfiguration of the UN presence.   

Secondly, on the security and regional fronts, it is essential that the Iraqi state controls the use of force throughout its territory. Similarly, Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected by all. In recent years, Iraq has developed a dynamic of dialogue and cooperation in the region, the strengthening of which continues to be important. In this respect, we also welcome Iraq's willingness to find a regional approach to tackling the negative effects of climate change and water shortages. We are in favor of UNAMI continuing its work in support of the government in the area of climate change, as the latter wishes.  

Thirdly, to consolidate peace and reconciliation, it is essential to guarantee human rights and to create and maintain spaces for inclusive dialogue. Similarly, it is essential to find lasting solutions for internally displaced people. We welcome the government's efforts in this regard, while calling for particular attention to be paid to the needs and rights of vulnerable groups. Preventing violence is crucial to stability and lasting peace in any state. We welcome the national strategy to combat violence against women and girls. At the same time, the adoption of national legislation to criminalize domestic violence retains its urgency. 

Finally, progress must be made in finding missing Kuwaiti, Iraqi and third-country nationals, as well as stateless people, without any adverse distinction. It is important - both for the relatives of the missing and for relations between the two neighboring countries - that this issue continues to be treated with sufficient attention.   

Mr. President,  

Negotiations on UNAMI's mandate will be decisive in setting the course for the future of the UN's presence in Iraq. It is important that Iraq and its people can continue to consolidate peace in the country - both during and after this reconfiguration of relations between Iraq and the UN.

Switzerland is committed to this.  

Thank you.

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