UN Security Council postpones visit to Iraq

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


The UN Security Council has decided to postpone a planned visit to Iraq ahead of May elections at the request of the Iraqi government, diplomats said Wednesday.

Iraq told the council in a letter this week that many officials will be busy with the election campaign, which kicked off on Saturday, and will not be able to meet with the ambassadors.

"Given the start of the Iraqi election campaign on April 14, and that all political parties and constitutional authorities in Iraq are now involving (sic) in the campaign, which may not enable the council members to meet the Iraqi officials, the Iraqi mission kindly requests that the council defer its intended visit," wrote Iraqi Ambassador Mohammad Hussein Bahr Aluloom in the letter seen by AFP.

The ambassador said the mission "looks forward to welcoming council members to Baghdad in the future." No new date for the visit was announced.

Iraq will be filling 329 seats in the national parliament in the May 12 election and choosing representatives to provincial assemblies, in the first poll held after the defeat of the Islamic State.

The United States was set to lead the council mission with this month's president, Peru.

Peruvian Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra told reporters this month that the council trip to Iraq would be to show support for the elections after three years of war against the Islamic State.

Iraq "needs support from the international community for rebuilding the country and to ensure reconciliation" after Baghdad's successful campaign to re-take territory from the Islamic State group, he said.