UNITED NATIONS,(Reuters) – The Security Council called on Iraq on Wednesday to form a new government quickly after a U.N. envoy said delays were hurting its infrastructure and services and adding to uncertainty about its future.
Nearly five months after a parliamentary election, Iraq remains at an impasse over forming a government, mostly due to disagreements over who should be prime minister, Iraqi politicians and U.N. officials say.
A council statement urged Iraqi politicians to “form, as quickly as possible, a government that is inclusive and represents the will of the Iraqi people and their hope for a strong, independent, unified and democratic Iraq.”
Earlier, U.N. special envoy to Iraq Ad Melkert told the 15-nation council the delays were “contributing to uncertainty in the country and create conditions that could be exploited by elements opposed to Iraq’s democratic transition.”
They were also “impacting on the country’s basic infrastructure and services, affecting the livelihood and well-being of Iraqi citizens.”
He referred to recent protests over a lack of electricity as a sign of “growing disillusionment and anger.” Baghdad has said electricity production and distribution are a priority.
Earlier this week Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said his desire to serve a second term as prime minister was not holding up the formation of a new government and asked Iraqis to have patience.
Baghdad’s U.N. Ambassador Hamid al-Bayati reiterated Iraq’s desire to end its so-called Chapter 7 status, under which it is required by the Security Council to make war reparations to neighbouring Kuwait and cannot import certain chemicals and other items.
“We request that the council … liberate Iraq from all restrictions imposed on it by the Security Council resolutions in order to enable Iraq to exercise its natural role as an effective member of the international community,” he said.
Under former leader Saddam Hussein, Iraq invaded its oil-producing neighbour Kuwait 20 years ago. A U.S.-led military operation drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait in 1991.
Baghdad wants the U.N. Security Council to reduce its reparation payments to Kuwait but the Kuwaitis oppose ending Iraq’s Chapter 7 status.
Melkert told reporters Iraq still needed to further normalise its relations with Kuwait but he hoped a solution could be found quickly.
“I believe it is possible and I believe also the time has come, with the start of a new government in Iraq hopefully any time soon, to take decisive steps and … contribute to the likelihood Iraq could exit from Chapter 7 very soon,” he said.