UN chief in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi leaders

Baghdad, Jan 14: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday held meetings with Iraqi leaders and urged them to deal with the root cause of the violence in Anbar province.

“I would urge the Iraqi leaders to address the root that causes the problem. They should ensure that nobody was left behind to reach a political cohesion, social cohesion and inclusive political dialogue,” Xinhua quoted Ban as saying at a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki here.

The UN chief said that he is concerned about the violence in Iraq’s Anbar province. “I am deeply concerned by the escalation of violence in Anbar province”, he said, adding that the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people must unite in addressing it.

Maliki said he reviewed with Ban what has been achieved during security operations against the terrorism in Anbar province, and that “we discussed the progress achieved in the relations between Iraq and Kuwait, as well as the Syrian crisis and how to stop fighting and sit down at the negotiating table”.

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned recent attacks by Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.

“The Security Council condemns the attacks that are being perpetrated by al-Qaida affiliate, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), against the people of Iraq in an attempt to destabilize the country and region,” said a presidential statement January 10.

Maliki also said that there might be obstacles in holding Geneva II conference, but there is not any alternative option. “The alternative would be a disaster not only to Iraq, but to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, the whole region and the whole world.”

The UN chief arrived in Baghdad for an official two-day visit. His last visit to Iraq was in Dec last year when he held talks with the Iraqi leaders over political developments in the region, including Iraq’s relations with neighbouring Kuwait.

IANS