The United Nations has welcomed a recent security agreement between Iran, Iraq, and the Kurdistan Region to address border security concerns, expressing hope that Baghdad could find a similar solution with Turkey.
The remarks were made by the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, on October 10 while briefing the United Nations Security Council on the latest developments in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.
Signed in March 2023, the joint security agreement includes coordination in "protecting the common borders between the two countries and consolidating cooperation in several security fields," as stated by the Iraqi Prime Minister's office at that time.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani looks on as Iraq's National Security Adviser Qasim al-Araji and Iran's Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani sign the security agreement that includes coordination in protecting the common borders between the two countries, in Baghdad, Iraq, March 19, 2023. Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout via REUTERS
This agreement required the Iraqi and Kurdistan Region governments to remove Iranian Kurdish opposition forces from the border areas and ensure there are no attacks against Iran launched from the Iraqi territories.
“I wish to highlight the implementation of the Iraq-Iran security agreement. Great efforts have been made by Iraq, including the Kurdistan Region, to secure its borders, and further work to sustain these achievements is ongoing,” Plasschaert told the UNSC during the online meeting.
She welcomed the deal as a solution reached through dialogue and joint commitment in accordance with international laws, hoping that Bagdad and Ankara could reach a similar understanding to address the security concerns along their shared borders.
“I wish to express hope that Iraq and Turkey will also embark on a sustainable way forward. Turkey’s security concerns are well understood. On that note, Mr. President, I wish to echo the Secretary-General’s condemnation of the recent terrorist attack in Ankara,” the UN envoy added.
“Constant cross-border attacks are a risky way to advance interests, one with numerous adverse effects. We therefore welcome ongoing efforts on the activation of bilateral committees between Iraq and Turkey aimed at addressing border security concerns.”
Furthermore, Plasschaert discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections in Kurdistan that was initially scheduled for October 2022, then postponed to November this year and more recently delayed to February 25th next year.
She emphasized that the UN expects all parties in the Kurdistan Region to ensure that this new election date will not once again fall victim to internal political strife.
“The Region's democratic process must prevail. There is so much at stake,” the UN envoy added.