New York: India on Tuesday called for an "urgent" end to the political deadlock in Iraq and urged parties to hold a peaceful dialogue for meeting people's aspirations and hopes to secure a safe and prosperous future for them.
Ambassador R Ravindra, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the UN at a Security Council meeting on the "situation concerning Iraq," said that it has been nearly a year that the people of Iraq do not have an elected government. He noted that the continuing political impasse impacts the people of Iraq directly who have already endured immense challenges in the last two decades from "terrorism to economic hardships."
India urged that all the political parties must rise above their differences and assume greater responsibilities to overcome the current stalemate. "A peaceful dialogue and a constructive way forward is the need of the hour," he said.
In this regard, India welcomed the convening of the national dialogue among Iraq's political leaders and parties. "Constructive engagement by all parties in the dialogue is a critical first step to avoid further political deadlock and violence," he added.
Ambassador said that the ongoing political instability also effects the security situation in Iraq which continues to be "fragile and volatile." India expressed deep concerns about the continued terrorist attacks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
"The terrorist forces must not be permitted to exploit the current political vaccum in the country," he exhorted.
Noting that the continued possession of arms and weapons in large quantities outside state control is a matter of grave concern, he said that it poses a serious challenge to the stability in Iraq.
In August, clashes between supporters of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the security forces lead to the death of over a dozen people.
Over this, the Ambassador noted, "The deadly clashes of August 29 and 30 serve as a timely reminder and highlight the urgency of addressing this issue within Iraq's constitutional framework. The repeated violation of Iraq's sovereignty and the pre-text of counter-terrorism operations must end."
India condemned all such acts and called upon Iraq's neighbours to work with the Iraqi authorities to address all the security challenges that they face. India also praised Iraq saying that despite its internal challenges Iraq continues to be a positive contributor to regional stability and friendly relations.
Notably, Al-Sadr's bloc won 73 seats in Iraq's October 2021 election, making it the largest faction in the 329-seat parliament but, ever since the vote, talks to form a new government have stalled, and Al-Sadr stepped down from the political process. A deadlock persists over the establishment of a new government.
In 2016 too Al-Sadr's supporters stormed the parliament in a similar fashion. They staged a sit-in and issued demands for political reform after then-Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi sought to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats in an anti-corruption drive.
Mass protests erupted in 2019 amid public anger over corruption and unemployment and this current protest poses a challenge for the oil-rich country.