The United Nations envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, on Wednesday warned that growing public discontent might unfold to bouts of violence, urging the Iraqi government to address "systemic concerns".
In a speech she delivered during the 7th Sulaimani Forum, the head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) highlighted the challenges facing the Iraqi government since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, citing a 20-year-long history of external interventions, sectarianism, ISIS war, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change.
"Only by focusing on the systemic concerns would it be possible to revive public trust. I warned that simmering anger boils over easily, and that failure to act will inevitably lead to a new cycle of violence," she said.
UNAMI chief also said, high oil prices cannot keep the country afloat.
"Drivers of instability in the country's more recent past, remain to a large extent the same, resulting in a pattern of recurring crisis and this include entirely systemic corruption, weak governance, poor service delivery, unemployment, and over-reliance on oil."
Hennis-Plasschaert expressed confidence that Iraq has the capacity to overcome these challenges and that the formation of the current federal government provides an opportunity to do so, but stressed that this requires coordination, joint work, and commitment from all parties in the country.
The UN envoy called on both Erbil and Baghdad to resolve their disputes and outstanding issues through dialogue and in accordance with the country's permanent constitution.