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    Terrorist Sleeper Cells, Daesh Fighters Remain in Iraq - Russian Mission to UN

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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - Iraqi leaders told UN Security Council member representatives during a trip to the Middle East last week that it would be a political mistake to claim terrorism had been defeated in Iraq, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov told reporters on Tuesday.

    "The Iraqi leadership told the members of the Security Council about the national problems the country faces, including the need to continue counter-terrorism efforts", Safronkov said. "Everyone says that claiming a defeat of terrorism would be politically a mistake. Fighters remain in Iraq. They come from Syria driven out by the military operation in the Arab Republic and disperse in local communities, sleeper cells and the threat can re-emerge at any moment".

    On 28 and 29 June, UN Security Council member representatives visited Iraq and met with Iraqi President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim and other government officials.

    Safronkov said the threat posed by terrorism to Iraq’s national security remains persistent and it is crucial to combat it. However, he added that engaging in reconstruction, rebuilding, and economic development would also contribute to the defeat of terrorism.

    In addition to combating terrorism, tackling the fate of minorities - Christians and Yazidis - that departed Iraq amid the genocide conducted by the Daesh is also among Iraq’s national priorities, Safronkov pointed out.

    "Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim told us about the steps the government undertakes to restore the rights of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq", Safronkov said.

    In 2014, Daesh captured vast territories in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi army successfully fought back against the terror group and, as a result, former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi declared an end to the fight against Daesh in December 2018. However, terror cells are still believed to be operating in the country.

    *Daesh (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.

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    terrorists, Daesh, Iraq
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