New York, August 7, 2014
M. LAMEK – France is deeply concerned about ISIS’s latest advances in northern Iraq, especially in the last few days in the north. This terrorist group is also spreading terror in Syria and other regions. Serious abuses are committed against civilians, especially against minorities. Those responsible for these crimes must be held accountable.
The situation is serious. Humanitarian needs are tremendous and Mr Zerihoun just made a long explanation about the humanitarian implication of the attacks currently taking place in northern Iraq. This is why France requested this emergency meeting of the UN Security Council tonight. We urge the international community to mobilize against the terrorist threat in Iraq and provide assistance and protection to all populations at risk. It is the responsibility of the Security Council to respond to threats to international peace and security.
France wishes to urgently examine options to effectively respond to the request for assistance that Iraq addressed to the United Nations. We will do so in connection with the Iraqi authorities and our partners. We need to address the threats to the integrity of the Iraqi state, to the region and to international security. France stands ready to play its role to stop terror and destruction.
France calls on the Iraqi authorities to quickly create the conditions for a settlement of this crisis through an inclusive political process. It is the only way for a sustainable stabilization of the Iraqi state and to ensure the security and the rights of all Iraqis.
Q. – [Inaudible]
M. LAMEK – We stand ready to play a role, we are currently examining options and discussing in connection with our partners and first of all with the government of Iraq.
Q. – Don’t you think that these statements are not effective? Don’t you think that the Security Council should take a concrete action with a clear mandate to make a difference on the ground?
M. LAMEK – My sense is that the meeting tonight showed that there was a very strong mobilization and a strong feeling of urgency within the Security Council and also a largely shared feeling that time has come for the Security Council to take action. What kind of action? Again, it is something which we have to work closely in detail. The feeling of urgency is there but now we have to work more precisely, in particular in connection with the Iraqi authorities, to see what we can do.
Q. – Does it need prior approval by the Security Council for any action by any state regarding Iraq (military or humanitarian), or just jump in and help out?
M. LAMEK – A number of actions can be taken on bilateral basis. What we are discussing now is what we can do at the Security Council. A number of states are already acting on a bilateral basis, and it is very useful. We need to do more. We have to discuss now at the Security Council the way to proceed.
Q. – Do strikes need to be authorized by the Council first?
M. LAMEK – If it’s done, my understanding is that it is done on the request of the Iraqis. There is not necessity for that.
Q. – We have information that United States interventions already started in Iraq. What do you say?
M. LAMEK – I’m not going to speak on behalf of the United States.
During tonight’s meeting, we shared the feeling that the Security Council has a role to play. We have to work more precisely in connection with the Iraqi authorities to see what exactly we could do. It doesn’t prevent a state on a bilateral basis to take action on their side. Anyway there is an urgency and we need all to mobilize and do whatever we need to do. As far as we are concerned here in New York, we have to see what the Security Council can do and again it is something to do in close liaison with the Iraqi authorities.
Q. – How soon do you expect the next step from the Security Council?
M. LAMEK – I can’t tell, but it should be as soon as possible. Clearly, as I said, there is a strong sense of urgency.
Q. – Am I understanding you clearly that the Security Council gives approval to any nation that is invited by the Iraqi government to intervene militarily, the Council is giving the green light, is that what you are saying?
M. LAMEK – No I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that the Security Council is giving a green light or whatever. What I’m speaking tonight about is the role that we, the Security Council, can play, what we can do, what kind of actions we can take in this regard. I’m not going to enter into specifics because this has to be first of all discussed, and extensively, with the Iraqi authorities.
Q. – To put the question in a different way, if the Iraqi government should invite the United States or France or another nation to intervene militarily and that nation helps Iraq in what they have requested, does that mean the Security Council will not condemn the act?
M. LAMEK – Condemn the act? It’s seems to be a very hypothetical question and I’m not going to enter into that. What is at stake now is the mobilization of the international community. We need to mobilize; we need to make sure the aggression by the Islamist State in Iraq and Syria are stopped because there is a clear emergency.
Q. – The only way to stop that at this stage will be a military action no?
M. LAMEK – It is certainly something which needs to be done indeed. But again, I’m here to comment on what we are doing at the Security Council. We want to make sure we have an extensive mobilization and that the Security Council takes action on issues on which it is competent.
Q. – This threat should be addressed in Iraq only or regionally?
M. LAMEK – We are discussing Iraq based on the request sent by the government of Iraq. Thank you./.
¹ M. Lamek spoke in English.