UN Secretary General starts official visit to Iraq

Mar 31, 2017, 01:40

Guterres also met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and the two sides reviewed "the humanitarian, security and political situations in Iraq as well as the victories of the Iraqi forces against IS", according to a statement by Jaafari's office.

He called on Iraq's leaders to build "a State in which all communities respect each other and reconciliation becomes something natural", according to a United Nations statement.

"Iraq needs a plan similar to the Marshall Plan.to present assistance to Iraqis and support development and overcome the effect of war against (IS) terrorist gangs", Jaafari said, according to his office.

Widespread displacement is another issue, with Iraqi authorities saying that more than 200,000 people have fled west Mosul since February. Three policemen were among the dead while the rest were civilians, police and health officials, speaking on condition of anonymity under regulations.

Thousands more are still caught up in the crossfire of the battle inside the city. He said protecting civilians was an "absolute priority".

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At least 14 people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle at an entrance to Baghdad, in an attack claimed by the Daesh group, officials said Thursday.

The UN chief asserted the need for the worldwide community to provide relief efforts to about three million Iraqis who were displaced by clashes against the IS, which seized large areas in northern and western part of the country in 2014.

Western Mosul is densely populated and has proven to be a much more hard fight for Iraqi and coalition forces, which have resorted to greater use of artillery and airstrikes to clear and hold territory.

The militant group overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since regained much of the territory they lost. "We are in the final stage of liberating Mosul and our forces are exerting their utmost efforts to protect the civilians", Abadi said.

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