UNITED NATIONS — Kobler told the Council that Iraq has taken “decisive steps to finalize the Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Maintenance Project” in accordance with resolution 833 of 1993.
From June 4 to 11, he explained, a UN tripartite mission traveled to the border area to assess the current situation of border pillars and update the concept of operations for the project. He added that the UN, at the request of both countries, is preparing for the maintenance work to start by October 31, “provided that key prerequisites like the removal of obstacles on the border are met.” He indicated that “bringing all Chapter VII obligations (pertaining to Iraq) to a satisfactory close will boost prospects fro bilateral trade and investment, promote regional cooperation and lead to the restoration of Iraq’s rightful standing within the international community,” urging Iraq, once again, to “quickly fulfill all its obligations.”
Kobler pointed out that the intensity and frequency of sand and dust storms mainly generated from inside Iraq has increased in recent years and had a “significant impact” on public health in Iraq and in the wider region, and affect transport and trade.
He said in this regard, that while in Kuwait last month, and following an offer by H.H. the Emir to invest a portion of Iraq’s outstanding war compensation funds back into Iraq, he proposed an “environmental fund.” “If Iraq and Kuwait agree, the fund could be used to undertake activities to reduce this health hazard, which is impeding daily life in the region,” he said.
Such activities, he suggested “might include improving water resource management, anti-desertification, reforestation and agricultural projects.” On the violence in Syria, he said it is a “source of deep concern, given the potential for the spread of instability and violence, humanitarian fallout, and political repercussions.” For that reason, he added, the UN system in Iraq is putting in place contingency plans for possible humanitarian emergency
He noted that the number of Syrian refugees in Iraq are 7,000 and that number is “manageable” for now.
Kobler also talked about the political, security, humanitarian and other issues in Iraq and UNAMIS’s work in the country.
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