UN chief on solidarity visit to Iraq

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Secretary-General António Guterres holds press encounter with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq in Baghdad. UN Photo

It is important that the world fully understands the crimes committed in Iraq by the extremist group ISIL, also known as Daesh, the UN Secretary-General said on Thursday.

António Guterres was speaking at a press conference in the country's capital, Baghdad, alongside the Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi.

The UN chief described his visit as one of solidarity with the Iraqi people and Government.

Dianne Penn reports.

The Secretary-General said his visit was also a show of solidarity during what he called "an historic moment" for Iraq.

A military operation to liberate the northern city of Mosul from the terrorist group is in its final stages.

Mr Guterres told journalists he was "extremely encouraged" by the Prime Minister's commitment to protecting civilians during the offensive, as well as his commitment to national dialogue and reconciliation.

"We also discussed how important it is that the crimes committed by Daesh find effective accountability. Those crimes need to be well known, need to be punished and it is important that the international community becomes fully aware of everything that was done, sacrificing in a terrible way the populations of Iraq, populations of all sorts, Sunni and Shia Muslims and Christians — all kinds of Iraqis were victims of the cruelty of Daesh."

Mr Guterres underlined the UN's support for government efforts to assist Iraqis affected by terrorism.

He also appealed for international support to help the country with reconstruction and building national institutions.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'24"

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