Political situation in Iraq is volatile, says UN envoy

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Security Council meeting on the situation concerning Iraq. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Iraq is facing a volatile situation as tens of thousands of people take to the streets to voice their grievances and some government ministers continue to boycott cabinet meetings.

This was disclosed by the head of the United Nations Mission in Iraq, Martin Kobler, during a briefing to the Security Council on Thursday.

Mr. Kobler said that since late December people have been demonstrating in the western provinces over human rights and access to basic services.

According to the UN envoy in Iraq, the demonstrators feel unprotected, insecure and excluded.

"My colleagues and I witnessed this first hand in Ramadi, Samara, Mosul, Falluja, Tikrit, Kirkuk. Around the country we listen to the demonstrators' frustrations. Over time they spoke more harshly and proposed more radical solutions. The volatility on the streets is also reflected at the political level. The ministers of the Sunni block Iraqiyya continue their boycott of the cabinet meetings which has lasted for almost three months. Political coalitions are weakening. In essence, the political fabric is fraying." (32")

Mr. Kobler said the Iraqi government has taken a number of initiatives to address the demonstrators demands.

He told the Security Council that he has welcomed these efforts which yielded some results, including a committee which reported that it has facilitated the release of around 3,400 prisoners.

The UN envoy said the committee also reported that all female prisoners have been transferred to their home governorates where they will serve the remainder of their sentences.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'36"

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