The United Nations reported Tuesday that the Iraqi government is steadily progressing in strengthening its "young democracy" and rebuilding the country after years of conflict, DPA reported.
Ad Melkert, the UN special envoy for Iraq, told the UN Security Council that he remains "optimistic" on Iraq's future as it is assuming more security responsibility from US forces, which are scheduled to leave the country by year's end.
"In some important aspects, Iraq is at the heart of fundamental changes in the region," Melkert said.
He said the country's constitution allows power sharing among minorities and the participation of women in the government system.
Iraq is returning to the global oil market with its vast oil wealth and expects annual economic growth of more than 10 per cent, Melkert said. But it continues to suffer high poverty rates, at close to 23 per cent. Also, more than 7 million Iraqis still rely on food aid from international organizations.
Melkert met with the 15-nation council behind closed doors to discuss the renewal of the UN mission in that country.