UN envoy criticizes international response to Iraq crisis
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy to Iraq called the international response to Iraq’s security and humanitarian crisis “grossly insufficient” and warned Thursday that the lack of support could hinder the fight against the Islamic State group.
Jan Kubis told the U.N. Security Council that Iraq is unable to cope alone with both the security challenge and providing humanitarian aid for over 8.2 million people, an increase of three million in five months.
He said Iraqi security forces, Kurdish fighters and Sunni tribal volunteers supported by the international coalition are making advances and liberating territory from the Islamic State group but it is “far from being defeated.”
The former U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, who took up the Iraq post in March, warned that “the existing opportunities to make Iraq successful in its fight against terrorism ... might disappear” without significant new support and appealed to the international community to provide urgently needed funding.
He said that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told him that the government is having great difficulties restoring public services, rebuilding infrastructure, and reinstituting civilian responsibility for security and rule of law in liberated areas because of funding constraints.
U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said the increasing needs of Iraqis have exhausted last year’s generous contributions and only 8 percent of the $1.2 billion required for Iraq this year has been received.
Since fighters from the Islamic State group attacked and took control of Iraq’s second largest city Mosul nearly a year ago, she said the number of people needing assistance has increased “seven-fold.”
“This number is likely to increase further before the end of the year, as conflict continues and as fear of sectarian-motivated retaliation spreads through newly accessible areas,” Amos warned.