U.N. Security Council extends mission in Iraq for another year

The U.N. Security Council announced on Wednesday that it extended the mandate of the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq through July 31, 2014.

The council decided to extend the mandate as part of an effort to continue to advise and support Iraq on the path to development and stability. Iraq was recently hit by the worst violence in the country in years with high civilian casualties at levels not seen since 2008.

The 15-member body unanimously adopted the resolution and called on the government of Iraq to keep providing security and logistical support to the mission. The council also asked member states to keep providing the mission with needed resources.

"The scale of renewed violence in Iraq during the reporting period is alarming," Ban said. "I again urge political leaders from all sides to intensify their efforts to resolve the continuing political stalemate in accordance with the constitution, through serious dialogue and with a spirit of compromise, so that no space is left to those who seek to exploit the situation through violence and terror."

Ban welcomed recent Iraqi-led dialogue initiatives and an agreement reached between the Iraqi and Kurdistan regional government.

"UNAMI stands ready to assist all parties in moving ahead towards national reconciliation," Ban said.

UNAMI played an important supporting role in the process by which Iraqis drew up and adopted a new constitution in 2005 and helped the country hold national elections in 2005, 2009 and 2010.

The mission is attempting to support efforts to promote dialogue to resolve Iraq's disputed internal boundaries, promote the establishment of a strong human rights protection system, improve the quality of life in areas such as sanitation, water, education and health and to help vulnerable populations including internally displaced refugees, returnees and displaced persons.