(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council late Wednesday strongly condemned the recent events in the city of Mosul, north Iraq, and the terrorist attacks that are being perpetrated against the Iraqi people in an attempt to destabilize the country and the region.
Ban "strongly condemns the upsurge in violence in Iraq at the hands of terrorist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which have reportedly taken control of the cities of Mosul, Tuz Khourmatu, Beiji and Tikrit," his press office said in a statement.
"Terrorism must not be allowed to succeed in undoing the path towards democracy in Iraq as determined by the will of the Iraqi people," it added.
Ban urged the international community to "unite in showing solidarity with Iraq as it confronts the serious security challenge," and called for "full respect" for international humanitarian law and human rights law in efforts to counter terrorism and violence in Iraq.
ISIL elements attacked Iraqi security personnel and civilians, taken over significant parts of the city, including the Turkish Consulate and many government buildings, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Council President Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said in a press statement that the Council reaffirmed its support for the Iraqi people and Government, particularly for those displaced by these terrorist acts, and reiterated its commitment to Iraq's security and territorial integrity.
The Council expressed in its statement the "grave concern" for the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have fled their homes seeking refuge in other areas of Iraq, and expressed gratitude to the host communities that have opened their doors to those seeking shelter and food.
The Council also welcomed Baghdad's announced plans for a national unity meeting to bring together all Iraqi people to combat terrorist threats, and continue to encourage the Government, as well as all Iraqi leaders, including the Kurdistan Regional Government, "to work together to promote stability in Ninewa province and to work with the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and aid agencies to ensure the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian relief. It "strongly denounced" the taking of hostages at the Turkish Consulate and insisted on the "immediate and safe return of all personnel," condemning acts of violence against diplomatic and consular representatives, which endanger or take innocent lives and seriously impede their normal work. The Council reiterated that "no act of violence or terrorism can reverse a path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction in Iraq," and reminded member states of their obligation to implement the targeted financial sanctions, arms embargo and travel ban imposed on ISIL and associated groups and individuals under the sanctions regime pursuant to Al-Qaeda-related resolutions.
The Council has scheduled a meeting Thursday morning to a briefing by the UN Special Representative for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov via video conference from Baghdad, diplomats said.
Iraqi Ambassador Mohamed Al-Hakim later told reporters that his Government thanks the Council for supporting Iraq in its fight against Al-Qaeda affiliate ISIL which occupied parts of Mosul.
He said Iraq has, on many occasions, warned the Council that Iraq is facing "serious terrorist threats," due in part to the spillover from the crisis in Syria. "This dire situation, which affects the lives of many civilians in Iraq, will not be solved without the undertaking of the UN member states of their responsibilities and fulfilling their obligations pursuant to relevant resolution," he said, adding that Baghdad "will spare no effort in fighting the terrorists and bringing back the stability to Mosul and other parts of Iraq." He also noted that Baghdad is "very concerned about the fate of the Turkish diplomats who are in the hands of the terrorists, and we will do our best to work on their release." Asked if Iraq is seeking any military assistance from any member state, Al-Hakim said his Government has not done so yet from the US or any other country at this point. "Iraq has many friends and we have asked many friends to support us in different areas." He disclosed that the Iraqi and Turkish Governments are cooperating to secure the release of the Turkish diplomats, and that Iraq has given the Security Council a list of terrorist individuals to eventually be added to the black list.
Commenting on the composition of the terrorist groups that entered Mosul and press reports that they include Ba'athists and other Iraqi soldiers, Al-Hakim said: "Certainly, most of them are one hundred percent terrorists," but there are others that have not been identified yet, admitting that some 30 cars cannot conquer half a city.