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الثلاثاء، 31 مارس 2015

amnesty :Yemen: At least six civilians burn to death in further airstrikes overnight

Yemen: At least six civilians burn to death in further airstrikes overnight

Armed forces led by Saudi Arabia has been launching airstrikes on regions of Yemen since last week. ©FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty
There is growing evidence that the Saudi Arabian-led military coalition is failing to take precautions to prevent civilian deaths amid ongoing airstrikes on sites around Yemen, Amnesty International said, as it confirmed that at least six civilians, including four children, were among 14 people who burned to death in further strikes early this morning.
The attacks, carried out at around 2 AM in Ibb governorate, were apparently targeting a Huthi checkpoint as well as fuel supplies along the road between Yareem and Dhammar. The dead included four children and two women, as well as eight men, but it is unknown if any of those were fighters. At least 31 others were hospitalized with burns and shrapnel wounds.
“After several days of often intense bombardment in several areas across Yemen, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Saudi Arabian-led coalition is turning a blind eye to civilian deaths and suffering caused by its military intervention,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
International humanitarian law requires all warring parties to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians amid the hostilities.
Precautions include giving effective advance warning of attacks which may endanger the civilian population, cancelling or suspending an attack if it becomes clear that it is likely to cause excessive civilian casualties or damage, and choosing means and methods of attack that minimize the risk to civilians and civilian objects.
Two petrol stations were destroyed in the airstrikes on Ibb governorate. According to the owner of one of the stations, in al-Kadima area in al-Kita, several passengers were killed in a car which had stopped to refuel, and a petrol station worker was injured. Amnesty International has not been able to ascertain if there were casualties at the other petrol station.
A third strike, apparently aimed at a passing fuel tanker, set fire to at least three civilian homes within a cluster of around 30-40 homes.
Dr. Hamood al-Jihafi in Yareem hospital told Amnesty International how the dead and injured arrived after suffering horrific burns and shrapnel injuries.
Camp and market hit by airstrikes
The strikes on Ibb come a day after 29 civilians, including children, were killed in airstrikes on a bridge at al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) on 30 March in Sa'ada, in northern Yemen near the border with Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, al-Kitaf market next to the al-Kitaf Military Base was targeted on 27 March, where 20 people, including three children were killed, and 16 were injured.
Humanitarian agencies, including UNICEF and Médecins Sans Frontières, condemned the attack on al-Mazraq and called on all parties to the armed conflict in Yemen to respect the neutrality of medical facilities and staff, and allow unhindered access to medical assistance for the wounded.
There have been conflicting reports about the alleged presence of Huthi fighters near the camp, but even if true, this would not justify an attack on a densely populated civilian area.
All forces should avoid deploying or locating military targets or fighters within or near densely populated areas. However, the alleged presence of fighters near civilian objects, including camps for the displaced, does not mean warring parties can forget about their obligation to minimize civilian harm,” said Said Boumedouha.

Why We Dislike Venezuela’s Leftists But Are Cool With Cuba’s

Why We Dislike Venezuela’s Leftists But Are Cool With Cuba’s

In sanctioning Venezuelan officials and hurling allegations of human rights abuses, perhaps the U.S. is forgetting its own history of instigating violence and fomenting unrest in the South American country and throughout Latin America.
By  @walzerscent
Cuba's President Raul Castro, left, shakes hands with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in front of the press after arriving to Miraflores presidential palace for an emergency ALBA meeting in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Cuba’s President Raul Castro, left, shakes hands with Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in front of the press after arriving to Miraflores presidential palace for an emergency ALBA meeting in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. The Venezuelan-led ALBA bloc of leftist regional governments is expected to express support for Venezuela’s position that its sovereignty is being violated by U.S. attempts to destabilize the country.

RABAT, Malta — Addressing the Venezuelan National Assembly on March 10, President Nicolas Madurodeclared that the country’s National Assembly elections would proceed as scheduled, regardless of U.S. intervention or action.
“I ask god for protection, if major events shake our country with me alive or not, the order is rain or shine, parliamentary elections will happen this year whether the empire wants it or not,” Maduro said in an impassioned address. “We are going to parliamentary elections and let the people decide what will happen in this country.”
On the same day, the National Assembly passed an enabling law to combat an executive order signed by President Barack Obama on March 9 and to allow Maduro to take the necessary steps to prevent U.S. interference in Venezuela.
As indicated during the first Caribbean Energy Security Summit hosted by Vice President Joe Biden in January, fomenting unrest in Venezuela is directly linked to the country’s vast oil reserves. According to former U.S. State Department special envoy and energy consultant David Goldwyn, “It’s absolutely the case that the economic situation has deteriorated for Venezuela and therefore the risk has gone up for all of these countries.”
Goldwyn was referring to the effects of falling oil prices on Venezuela’s Petrocaribe, a trade program which enables South American and Caribbean countries to buy Venezuelan oil at subsidized prices. Countries benefiting from Petrocaribe have been encouraged to start seeking alternatives like “private investment” and diversifying their energy sources in order to end their complete dependence on Petrocaribe.
While Secretary of State John Kerry noted, “If Petrocaribe were to fall due to events in Venezuela, we could end up with a serious humanitarian crisis in our region,” the U.S. is nevertheless seeking to support forces that would facilitate a potential humanitarian crisis.
Indeed, the U.S.-supported Venezuelan opposition has long asserted its objections to the nationalization of Venezuelan oil. This process began on May 1, 2007, when late President Hugo Chávez announced the end of U.S.-influenced policies in Venezuela. In addition to moving toward nationalizing the country’s vast oil reserves, Chávez cut ties with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which he declared “mechanisms of North American imperialism.”
After thousands of workers stormed the foreign-owned oil fields in support of the nationalization efforts, three U.S. companies — ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. — transferred operational control to the state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela in 2007.
About five years prior to this, on April 11, 2002, the IMF supported a coup against Chávez that lasted for about 48 hours. Just hours after Chávez was removed from office and jailed in the middle of the night, IMF spokesman Thomas Dawson declared that the IMF was “ready to assist the new administration [of Pedro Carmona] in whatever manner they find suitable.”
Individuals involved, including Carmona, a former oil executive, who was nominated Venezuelan president and recognized by the U.S., and Otto Reich, a Cuban exile, who served as director of USAID’s Latin American section, had been received by former President George W. Bush at the White House, where several meetings were held until a few weeks prior to the short-lived coup.

Attempts to instigate additional violence in Venezuela

Venezuela Anti Imperialist MarchA government supporter holds a sign showing a picture of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez during an anti-imperialist rally at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The rally was held amid tensions between Venezuela and the U.S. after President Nicolas Maduro this month said Washington is plotting to oust him and ordered the U.S. Embassy in Caracas to slash staffing levels. The U.S. later levied sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials accused of human rights violations.

The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) held an emergency summit on March 14 to discuss U.S. attempts to instigate additional violence in Venezuela. According to Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, UNASUR support for Venezuela affirms recognition of imminent threat that could spread beyond the country’s borders to provoke instability in the continent.
“If there were to be an intervention on Venezuela, we wouldn’t know when it would move beyond our borders,” Rodriguez said.
UNASUR also released a statement condemning the executive order issued by President Obama. Rejecting U.S. interference, the UNASUR statement explicitly states: “The member States of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) manifest their rejection of the Executive Order issued on March 9, 2015 by the government of the United States of America, for it constitutes a threat of interference against sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention in other States’ affairs.”
Following the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, which the president signed on Dec. 18, Obama issued an executive order that goes beyond the requirements of that legislation and designates Venezuela a security threat. The premise for the executive order highlights U.S. hypocrisy with regard to human rights, as it states: “We are committed to advancing respect for human rights, safeguarding democratic institutions, and protecting the U.S. financial system from the illicit financial flows from public corruption in Venezuela.”
U.S.-Venezuela relations during Chávez’s era clearly demonstrate the superpower’s ire toward Chávez’s policies, including his alliance with Cuba’s Fidel Castro, the Petrocaribe program, his refusal to cooperate with U.S. intelligence, and the maintenance of relations with countries on the U.S. State Sponsor of Terrorism list.
Chávez’s anti-imperialist stance was enough for the U.S. to cite human rights concerns as the reason for fomenting discord and violent opposition — manifested in the 2002 coup and in recent attempts to bring about Maduro’s downfall.
The recent executive order also names seven individuals who have been specifically targeted by U.S. sanctions. The officials are affiliated with Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Armed Forces, the Public Ministry, the Bolivarian National Police and the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service. Venezuela’s process of safeguarding the Bolivarian Revolution is criticized, especially through the document’s description of national level prosecutor Katherine Nayarith Haringhton Padron charging opposition members with conspiracy in relation to coup plots. Yet the U.S. government has exhibited no qualms about accusing other officials of human rights violations, despite various reports and photographs depicting the violent chaos orchestrated by the Venezuelan opposition..

South American leaders slam US actions

Bolivia's President Evo Morales, left, speaks with Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, right, as Grenada's Prime Minister Keith Mitchell stands behind as they gather for a group photo at the start of an emergency ALBA meeting at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. The Venezuelan-led ALBA bloc of leftist regional governments is expected to express support for Venezuela's position that its sovereignty is being violated by U.S. attempts to destabilize the country. Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, left, speaks with Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, right, as Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell stands behind as they gather for a group photo at the start of an emergency ALBA meeting at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. The Venezuelan-led ALBA bloc of leftist regional governments is expected to express support for Venezuela’s position that its sovereignty is being violated by U.S. attempts to destabilize the country.

During a summit held in Caracas on March 9, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) also rejected Obama’s executive order. The final declaration of the ALBA summit insists upon “the application of international law, a peaceful resolution to conflicts, and the principles of non-intervention that call on all governments to act within the framework of the universal principles and the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the necessity and willingness for governments to abstain from employing unilateral coercive measures that violate international law.”
South American governments present during the ALBA summit expressed their opinions about U.S. covert action in Venezuela. Bolivian President Evo Morales insisted that the U.S. is embarking upon divisive tactics after the imperialist power failed to destroy the region politically, economically and through the imposition of military dictatorships. He further criticized the double-standard applied by the U.S. regarding alleged human rights abuses.
“In Latin America and the Caribbean we have no death penalty, the worst violation possible of human rights, but it does exist in the U.S.,” Morales said.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega employed revolutionary discourse, reminding the summit that under Obama, the region has witnessed coups in Honduras and Paraguay, as well as attempted coups in Bolivia and Ecuador. The U.S., he asserted, “is a threat to global security, this is not rhetoric, [it] is reality.”
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patińo highlighted the United States’ role in furthering human rights abuses, its legalization of torture and development of the “most powerful mass surveillance system.”
Cuban President Raúl Castro spoke from historical experience, yet his words stand in sharp contrast to the normalization of relations which the island has embarked upon with the U.S. Raúl acknowledged that the U.S. “has backed bloody military dictatorships, covert operations and has supported terrorism” in the region. Ironically, he added that “the objectives are consistent, they’ve just changed their methods.”
Indeed, the current scenario involves the U.S. pursuing the same goals, but with a different strategy, as Raúl noted. Venezuela is battling overt and covert actions by the U.S. through its funding of the Venezuelan opposition and its participation in attempted coups. Despite attempts to discredit the Venezuelan government’s claims, opposition leaders Leopoldo López, María Corina Machado and Antonio Ledezmasigned a statement the day before the recent failed coup, titled “A Call on Venezuelans for a National Accord for the Transition,” which, above all, sought to apply the allegedly meritocratic policy to oil purchases.

Secretive talks with Cuba

Javier Yanez stands on his balcony where he hung a U.S. and Cuban flag in Old Havana Cuba, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014Javier Yanez stands on his balcony where he hung a U.S. and Cuban flag in Old Havana Cuba, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Photo credit: AP.

Meanwhile, Cuba is in the process of normalizing relations with the U.S. following the December prisoner swap that saw the release of the remaining imprisoned members of the Cuban 5 in exchange for USAID subcontractor Alan Gross and an unidentified U.S. spy.
Admittedly, Raul affirmed in his speech at the ALBA summit, “The United States must understand once and for all that it is impossible to seduce or buy Cuba, or intimidate Venezuela. Our unity is indestructible.”
However, normalization of relations with the U.S. is ultimately an innovative form of colonization under the guise of diplomacy. Chávez’s vehement anti-imperialist stance, which echoed that of Fidel Castro, always advocated for global unity against imperialism. In a meeting with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Chávez stated, “Let’s save the human race; let’s finish off the U.S. empire.”
U.S.-Cuba diplomatic discussions have reached a third round. Shrouded in secrecy, a brief statement from the U.S. State Department said, “The discussion yesterday [March 16] was positive and constructive and was held in an atmosphere of mutual respect.” For its part, the Cuban foreign ministry described the talks as “professional.”
According to AFP, Obama is aiming to re-open embassies in both countries prior to the Summit of the Americas, which is to be held in Panama from April 10-11

Google Bullies, Censors MintPress & Over Abu Ghraib Photo

Google Bullies, Censors MintPress & Over Abu Ghraib Photos

MintPress News and have both been targeted by Google AdSense with threats to kill ad revenue for publishing the infamous photos of Abu Ghraib detainee torture by American troops. Many are left wondering if this is an attempt to control the narrative on the war in Iraq.
By  @mnarmuh
Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr.  punching one of several handcuffed detainees lying on the floor in late 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.   Google has been targeting independent media outlets that publish the Abu Ghraib photos, threatening to cut off vital ad revenue that keep many smaller newsrooms afloat.Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr.  punching one of several handcuffed detainees lying on the floor in late 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.   Google has been targeting independent media outlets that publish the Abu Ghraib photos, threatening to cut off vital ad revenue that keep many smaller newsrooms afloat.

MINNEAPOLIS — On March 12 Google AdSense contacted MintPress News threatening to disable our Google Ads if we did not remove gruesome and now infamous photos of American soldiers torturing Iraqis in the Abu Ghraib prison.
These same photos have been published by hundreds of news organizations across the world since they surfaced over a decade ago, including, which recently had its Google AdSense account restored after it was suspended for not removing the same Abu Ghraib photos. The Abu Ghraib photos published on MintPress appeared alongside this December blog post, originally published by The Anti-Media, detailing classified evidence that American soldiers had raped young Iraqi boys in front of their mothers at Abu Ghraib.
Abu Ghraib Censored
The version of the infamous Abu Ghraib photo that MintPress censored to comply with Google’s demands.
The original uncensored photo that prompted Google's take down demand.
The original uncensored photo that prompted Google’s take down demand.

But this was not the first time MintPress was contacted by Google AdSense. We received a similar email on Nov. 14, 2014, warning us to remove an Associated Press photo taken in Syria.
FILE - In this Sunday, March 11, 2012 file photo, a man carries a boy who was severely wounded during heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian Army forces in Idlib, north Syria. More than two years into Syria's civil war, the once highly-centralized authoritarian state has effectively split into three distinct parts, each boasting its own flags, security agencies and judicial system. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)A man carries a boy who was severely wounded during heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian Army forces in Idlib, north Syria, March 11, 2012. This photo was ordered to be removed by Google for violation of their Ad Sense policies on violence. Photo: Rodrigo Abd/AP.

The photo shows a man holding a young boy who had been badly wounded in an area where fighting had erupted between Syrian government forces and rebels — nearly two months after the U.S. military began its airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria. We had published the image in January 2014 alongside an Associate Press article breaking down the civilian death toll of the Syrian civil war. Google AdSense explained that the photo was graphic in such a way that it violated the program’s terms of service. MintPress relys on donations to fund our mission, and ad revenue is used to cover the shortfalls of that funding.

Both messages read as follows:

The first letter was dated November 11, 2014:

Letter from Google 1

The second letter was dated March 12, 2015:

Google letter 2

One week after we were demanded to remove the Abu Ghraib photos, a federal district court judge ​announced that he will no longer accept the U.S. government’s secrecy arguments about the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. The case was brought in response to Freedom of Information Act requests submitted by the ACLU for records related to detainee treatment and deaths while in U.S. custody and abroad since Sept. 11, 2001.
The judge ruled that the government must release thousands of photographs of detainee abuse and torture in Afghanistan and Iraq, including photos depicting inhumane treatment at Abu Ghraib prison.

Google’s role in cementing a narrative

MintPress complied with both instances of Google’s unfair and seemingly Orwellian demands to censor us. We had complied with the first take-down request as of Nov. 14, when we removed and replaced the “violating” content. In response to the most recent warning, we opted to blur the Abu Ghraib photo in question, as well as several others that we independently determined to be in “violation” of Google AdSense’s ambiguous and vague terms of service. This approach allows us to retain the important photos, without the threat of loss of revenue.
In forcing independent media outlets like MintPress to remove the photos from Abu Ghraib from their websites, we believe Google is attempting to control the narrative of the Iraq War and the crimes committed against the Iraqi people for the sake of oil and war profiteering interests.
Google has shown both a desire and a propensity to cooperate closely with the establishment corporate community that influences federal government decisions in complying with unconstitutional requests to access the personal data of American citizens. Google’s seemingly strategic enforcement of its AdSense policies seems to be yet another instance in which the web giant is behaving to appease the corporate establishment that drives our nation to war.
Further, Google AdSense’s threats targeted our ad revenue over photos of war crimes committed by our military during the Iraq War and of the exacerbation of the Syrian civil war through the United States’ involvement in arming Syrian rebels. This sets a disturbing precedent for journalists trying to do the very job our corporate media has failed to do in working to inform the public about the gruesome realities of failed U.S. foreign policy driven by corporate interests for war profiteering.
Indeed, it wasn’t long ago that corporate media was falsely peddling the “weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq” narrative, and we sincerely hope that Google, with the vital role it plays in serving the news and information needs of the American people, is not following suit.

The war on MintPress and other independent media targets funding

As an independent watchdog news organization, it is our duty to keep the public informed about U.S. foreign policy issues, no matter how difficult they may be to process. Despite the fact that we complied with Google’s demands, we feel we have been directly targeted because of our status as independent media and our stance on challenging the corporate establishment’s narrative of our wars.
Yet this is not the first time our newsroom’s funding sources have been targeted for our coverage of U.S. meddling in the conflicts of other nations. Nearly two years ago, MintPress found itself in the midst of an organized bullying and smear campaign led by corporate newsrooms like BuzzFeed and others to discredit MintPress’ reporting by focusing on our funding sources after we broke several stories on al-Qaida-linked rebels fomenting a chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, Syria, to drive the U.S. into war with the Syrian government.
We believe there is a deliberate effort to silence independent voices by targeting our lifeline — our funding and revenue, the one channel that keeps our business running — in order to discredit our newsroom and dismiss our reporting.

How can you help? 

Don’t let the corporate establishment and elite get away with it!  This has taken a big hit on our funding.
We need your help today, and you can do that in two ways:
  1. Make a donation to help us recover the lost revenue. As an independent journalism organization we simply can’t afford to lose this revenue. 
  2. Contact Google AdSense and tell them that censoring war crimes is not OK.
    Google Inc.
    1600 Amphitheater Parkway
    Mountain View, CA 94043
    Telephone: 650-253-0000
    You can also interact with Google at their forum
Thank you to all of our MintPress supporters and most importantly, thank you for standing up to injustice.

Mnar Muhawesh is founder and editor in chief of MintPress News. Ms. Muhawesh is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups. She is also regularly interviewed on nationally and internationally syndicated networks like BBC and RT about neoconservatism in the media and the need for independent journalism. She started her career as an indie multimedia journalist covering Midwest and national politics while focusing on civil liberties and social justice issues posting her reporting and exclusive interviews on her blog MintPress, which she later turned MintPress into the global news source it is today. Contact Mnar at
Follow Mnar on Twitter at @mnarmuh

الاثنين، 30 مارس 2015

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks to the press

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks to the press

The Common ills
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Iraq today.

 urges Iraq 2 do all it can to ensure protection of civilians & humanitarian access in conflict zones. 

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The UN issued the following:


As-salam Alaikum. Good afternoon.

Shukran Jazilan, I want to thank Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for his welcome and for his leadership.  It is a great pleasure for me to be back in Iraq once again.

We have just concluded a very productive meeting, which was preceded by fruitful discussions with President Fuad Masum and Speaker Saleem al-Jabouri.

Later today, I will speak by phone with President Massoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

I am here to underscore the United Nations’ continuing and full support for advancing peace, development and human rights in Iraq.

I am also very pleased to be here so soon after the arrival of my new Special Representative, Mr.Ján Kubiš. I am confident that the government and people of Iraq will support Mr. Kubiš and work very closely with him.

I recognize and appreciate the commitment of Iraqi leadership to maintaining the momentum for national reconciliation and unity.  I am encouraged by the Government’s submission of key draft legislation to Parliament since my last visit in August.

However, I remain extremely concerned about the security crisis in Iraq and its impact on civilians.

During my meetings today, we reviewed the progress of ongoing military operations to liberate areas under the control of Daesh, including most recently around Tikrit.  I hope that additional areas, and the rest of the region, will soon be freed from the ongoing threat of Daesh.

People have suffered unconscionable levels of casualties as a result of this new wave of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence.  Over 2.5 million people have been displaced. Minority communities, women and children remain particularly affected.

Iraq’s cultural treasures have not been spared.  I strongly condemn the destruction of archaeological sites in Hatra, Nimrud and elsewhere – and express my support for UNESCO efforts to safeguard cultural sites at imminent risk.  We must unite to protect humanity’s shared heritage.

Mr. Prime Minister, Ladies and gentlemen,

I know the Government of Iraq, as well as the Kurdistan Regional Government have worked tirelessly to scale-up emergency relief efforts for those affected by the violence.

But vast challenges remain and the threat of additional and secondary displacement during ongoing military operations may overwhelm local and international capacities.

Additional resources are urgently needed to save lives.

I call on the Government of Iraq and the international community to enhance support to Iraq’s displaced and to help alleviate the suffering of all the Iraqi people.

I urge the Government to do all it can to ensure the protection of civilians and their access to humanitarian assistance.

I am also concerned by allegations of summary killings, abductions and destruction of property perpetrated by forces and militias fighting alongside Iraqi armed forces.

Civilians freed from the brutality of Daesh should not have to then fear their liberators.  One form of violence cannot replace another.

I encourage the Government of Iraq to do all it can to ensure the restoration of the rule of law and governance in areas liberated from Daesh as well as to bring volunteer armed groups fighting in support of the Government under Government control.

Alleged violations or abuses of human rights must be investigated and perpetrators need to be held to account.

I further call on the Government of Iraq, alongside its national partners and the international community, to create the conditions for stabilisation and reconstruction of Iraq.

We have also had the chance today to discuss the need for Baghdad and Erbil to uphold their December agreement on oil and revenue-sharing and ensure that the work of the joint committees continues.

This partnership is crucial to addressing Iraq’s security and financial crises. It is essential that disagreements over pending issues be resolved within the framework of the Constitution.

Finally, we discussed Iraq’s relations with Kuwait.  From here, I will go to Kuwait to take part in a pledging conference in support of Syrian refugees and neighbouring host countries.  I want to commend the government and people of Iraq for providing sanctuary and support to so many Syrians fleeing the fighting.

I also commend the governments of both Iraq and Kuwait for continuously and proactively working to strengthen bilateral ties. I will reinforce that message in Kuwait.

Progress on the missing Kuwaiti persons and national archives is still required. I also commend the enhancement of relations between Iraq and other countries in the region.

We will continue to do all we can to assist the people and Government of Iraq to end this crisis so that they may focus their energy and resources on building a more peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous future for all Iraqis.

Mr. Prime Minister, once again, I am honoured to be here to express my full solidarity and support for the people and the government of Iraq, and I highly command and appreciate your leadership in promoting unity and solidarity and inclusive dialogue which goes to all the people of the society and I express my strong hope that you will continue to enjoy prosperity, development and stability of your country.

Thank you. Shukran Jazeelan.