Listen to article

5 August - The Security Council today extended for another year the mandate of the United Nations mission that is helping Iraq with its efforts to build a secure, stable and prosperous nation and called on the country's leaders to intensify their efforts to form an inclusive national government.

The mission, known as UNAMI, is tasked with assisting the Iraqi Government in the areas of elections, reconciliation, the resolution of disputed boundaries, human rights and humanitarian concerns, as well as reconstruction and development.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1936, the Council decided that UNAMI will remain in place until 31 July 2011, as recommended by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his latest report on the mission.

The 15-member body also stressed that “challenges to security in Iraq still exist and that improvements need to be sustained through meaningful political dialogue and national unity.”

In Mr. Ban's report, which was made public earlier this week, he urged Iraq's political leaders to work together through an inclusive process to form a new government, which is still pending five months after parliamentary elections were held.

He warned that further delays could impact negatively on the country's stability, democratic transition and development.

“I am concerned that continued delays in the government formation process are contributing to a growing sense of uncertainty in the country,” he wrote. “Not only does this risk undermining confidence in the political process, but elements opposed to Iraq's democratic transition may try to exploit the situation.”

In early June Iraq's highest court certified the results of parliamentary elections held in March, in which the party headed by Iyad Allawi, a former prime minister, received more votes than the coalition led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in the 325-member Council of Representatives. At least 12 million people cast their votes in those polls, in which more than 6,000 candidates took part.

Briefing the Council yesterday, the top UN envoy to Iraq stated that the process of forming a new government represents “a real test” for the country's transition to democracy and the commitment of Iraqi leaders to adhere to the constitution.

Ad Melkert, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of UNAMI, called on Iraqi leaders to show “a higher sense of urgency” and work together to forge an agreement through an inclusive process.

The Council, in the resolution adopted today, also underscored the need for all communities in Iraq to participate in the country's political process and an inclusive political dialogue.