UNITED NATIONS – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to host a meeting Friday so the Iraqi government can brief U.N. member states on a five-year plan to ensure the government has funds to survive and enact key political and economic reforms.
Friday's meeting also will "provide the Iraqi government with an opportunity to inform potential donors on the progress made in the implementation of its commitments," Ban said.
In his quarterly report on Iraq circulated Monday, Ban expressed hope that the date and venue for the launch of the compact will be identified as soon as possible, noting that the documentation has been finalized.
Ban said in Monday's report that he strongly believes "that positive political progress and a reduction of violence are essential preconditions for the success of this initiative."
Since December, however, the report said high levels of violence have continued to overshadow political and reconstruction efforts.
"The worsening security situation, particularly in Baghdad and in the southern and western regions, continues to undermine the ability of the government of Iraq to deliver essential services, create jobs, and reconstruct socio-economic infrastructure," it said.
The U.N. Mission in Iraq and the country team will continue reconstruction efforts wherever possible, including providing support for the International Compact "while also maintaining a strong advocacy role in humanitarian and human rights issues," the report said.
"Ultimately, the Iraqi people and their leaders face a fundamental choice, between seeking a negotiated political settlement or drawing further into the abyss of sectarian conflict," Ban said. "I believe that it is still not too late to turn the tide and prevent further escalation."
As of January, contributions to the U.N. Development Group Iraq Trust Fund totaled $1.12 billion and some 113 projects have been approved for funding, Ban said. He also noted that the fifth meeting of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq Donor Committee will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 20.