The final statement from Frank Baker, UK Ambassador to Iraq. In this, Frank reflects on his 3.5 years in the role and discusses his hopes for Iraq’s future:
After over three years in Baghdad I am moving on from my role as British Ambassador to Iraq. It has been an incredible journey, in a fascinating country, at a challenging time. When I arrived in the summer of 2014, over one third of Iraqi territory was in the hands of Daesh.
Its fighters were approaching the outskirts of Baghdad. The country was under a significant threat. Three years on, the caliphate has been destroyed and Daesh itself is on the brink of collapse. It has been defeated by the strength of ordinary Iraqis; the commitment of the Iraqi government under the leadership of Prime Minister Haider al Abadi; and the immense courage of the Iraqi Security Forces.
I pay tribute to all those Iraqis who have died or been wounded in the fight to liberate your country from the tyranny of Daesh. And I am proud that the UK, a longstanding friend of Iraq, has, as a leading member of the Global Coalition, stood by Iraq and Iraqis in the face of Daesh’s violence and oppression.
But while Daesh is in retreat, challenges remain. These include stabilising liberated areas; resolving internal political tensions; reconstructing the country; and carrying out difficult but necessary economic reform - including ending the curse of corruption which affects so many Iraqis. I am fully confident in the capacity of Iraq and Iraqis to rise to these challenges.