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Senior MP: Iraqi Lawmakers Preparing Plan to Expel Saudi Envoy

5 July 2016 7:49

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A senior Iraqi lawmaker underlined that his colleagues are preparing a plan to urge the government of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to expel Saudi Ambassador to Baghdad Thamer al-Sbhan as a persona non grata at the earliest.

“The Iraqi MPs are collecting signatures about expelling the Saudi envoy,” member of Iraqi parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee Razaq al-Haidari told FNA on Monday.

He said that the Iraqi parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee intends to expel al-Sabhan in response to Saudi Arabia’s insistence on repeating undiplomatic remarks through its envoy to Iraq against the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) that are fighting against the ISIL.

Last Thursday, another senior Iraqi lawmaker called on his government to take serious measures against the Saudi Ambassador to Baghdad, and said that al-Sabhan is in Iraq to support the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group.

“The reinstatement of al-Sabhan in Baghdad is meant to support the ISIL,” the Arabic-language media outlets quoted member of the Iraqi Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee Mesal al-Alousi as saying.

He underlined that Saudi Arabia meddles in the internal affairs of all the regional countries, and said, “For the same reason the Iraqi government should confront that country’s ambassador to Baghdad.”

“Saudi Arabia claims that it respects the Iraqi people and Shiites, but it supports the ISIL,” Al-Alousi said.

In mid-June, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ebrahim al-Jafari slammed Saudi ambassador’s remarks about Iran’s role in the Arab country, including its advisory assistance to fight Takfiri militants.

Al-Jafari’s remarks came in reaction to al-Sabhan’s meddling in his country’s internal affairs.

“The Saudi envoy’s comments represent flagrant meddling in Iraq’s domestic affairs and run counter to standard diplomatic norms,” al-Jafari said.

In a Twitter post, Sabhan wrote that Iranian military advisers were in Fallujah to incite sectarian violence and change the demographic composition of the city.

The Saudi ambassador’s repeated meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs came after Iraqi troops retook Fallujah from the Saudi-backed ISIL militants on Friday and prepared to retake Mosul, the last Takfiri bastion in the country.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned Sabhan “to inform him of its official protest regarding his divisive statements.” The ministry said Baghdad would not allow anyone to stoke divisions in the country through making sectarian comments.

Baghdad also said it would not allow Riyadh to draw Iraq into the kingdom’s conflict with Tehran.

Iraqi officials have at times stated that Iranian military advisers are in the Arab country at the request of Baghdad.

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