‘Even survival’ of Iraqi state in danger, warns UN mission, as UN chief urges calm and restraint |
In a statement released through his spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, Secretary General António Guterres, said he was following events “with concern”, as protesters stormed public buildings.
Sadr’s alliance won a majority of seats in last October’s general election, but its lawmakers resigned en masse after falling into a stalemate with a rival Shia bloc over the appointment of a new prime minister , according to dispatches.
His supporters have camped outside the parliament building for weeks and have already stormed the building to protest the political deadlock and lack of progress.
Several were reportedly killed in Monday’s clashes after supporters stormed the presidential palace.
Mr. Guterres urged all parties concerned “to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation” and avoid further violence.
“The Secretary-General urges all parties and all actors to overcome their differences and commit, without further delay, to a a peaceful and inclusive dialogue on a constructive way forward.”
Earlier in the day, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, UNAMI, called on all protesters to leave Baghdad’s international zone immediately, evacuate government buildings and “allow the government to pursue its responsibilities or to lead the state, in the service of the Iraqi people”. .”
UNAMI said the developments mark “an extremely dangerous escalation. State institutions must function unhindered in the service of the Iraqi people, in all circumstances and at all times. Respect for the constitutional order will now prove vital.
“Unstoppable chain of events”
The mission urged all Iraqis to remain peaceful, cooperate with security forces and “refrain from actions that could lead to an unstoppable chain of events”.
UNAMI also calls on all (political) actors to work towards de-escalating tensions and using dialogue as the only way to resolve differences. Iraqis cannot be held hostage to an unpredictable and untenable situation. The very survival of the state is at stake.”