United Nations: The UN Security Council called Wednesday for "meaningful political dialogue and national unity" in Iraq, where an upsurge in violence is intensifying fears of a return to widespread sectarian killing that brought the country to the brink of civil war after the 2003 US-led invasion.
In a resolution adopted unanimously, the council encouraged the government to continue strengthening democracy and the rule of law, improve security and public order, and combat terrorism and sectarian violence across the country.
The resolution extends the UN`s civilian mission in Iraq until July 21, 2014 and includes a mandate to monitor and report on Iraqi efforts to find missing Kuwaitis from the 1990-91 invasion and war, and looted Kuwaiti property including the national archives.
Iraq has been lobbying for years to get rid of all UN sanctions and requirements under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which can be militarily enforced. Last month, the council voted unanimously to end several Chapter 7 requirements, including searching for missing Kuwaitis and looted property.
"The resolution agreed today is another positive step in the improvement of Iraq-Kuwait relations," Britain`s UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said after today`s vote.
He said last month that Iraq still has some Chapter 7 obligations including a conventional arms ban, the freeze and return of Saddam-era assets, and the prohibition on trade in stolen Iraqi cultural property.