Top UN envoy "a paranoid optimist" about Iraq

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Nickolay Mladenov. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The outgoing head of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has described himself as "a paranoid optimist" about the country.

Nickolay Mladenov on Tuesday briefed the Security Council for the last time as the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Iraq.

Iraq has been facing a long-term security crisis, exacerbated by the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group.

Derrick Mbatha reports.

In his briefing to the Security Council, Nickolay Mladenov said he was an optimist because despite the year-long security crisis, Iraq's political, community and religious leaders have coalesced to save the country from terror.

He told the Security Council that today, there is a growing understanding that the country can only move forward based on the principles of democracy, rule or law, respect for diversity and inclusivity.

"This understanding has been increasingly evident since the formation of a national unity Government set on addressing many long-standing concerns of the Iraqi people. I am however, also paranoid that so many things can go wrong. ISIL remains in control of most of Iraq's western provinces, the fragile efforts towards unity and reconciliation need to be carefully nurtured if they are to bear fruit while the economy has been hit by falling oil prices and skyrocketing security costs." (28")

Mr. Mladenov also reported that since the beginning of the year, at least 4,000 Iraqis from Anbar and Ninewa have signed up as part of the popular mobilization force to liberate Iraq's western provinces.

He encouraged the government to empower and quickly provide all necessary means to these local fighters to free their homes from ISIL while also supporting recovery and reconstruction.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1’34″

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