Saudi, UAE want to reopen Baghdad missions


The United States has repeatedly urged Sunni Arab Saudi Arabia, a regional heavyweight, to reopen its embassy in Baghdad as a sign of support to the Shia -led Iraqi government.

Saudi diplomatic representation would send a strong signal to other reluctant Arab countries to follow suit.

‘We have a request from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to resend its mission in Iraq and from the United Arab Emirates,’ Zebari told a news conference in Baghdad.

Many Arab nations pulled their diplomats out of Baghdad as violence flared after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

Several diplomats, including an Egyptian ambassador, have been kidnapped and killed by suspected Al Qaeda militants. A United Arab Emirates diplomat was kidnapped and held for nearly two weeks in Baghdad in May 2006 by Islamist militants.

Zebari said a number of Arab diplomatic missions continue to operate in Iraq. ‘But for security reasons and because of the targeting of Arab diplomats by terrorists … we (decided) not to publicise (their activities),’ he said.

Several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, have expressed displeasure at the way the government of Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki has treated minority Sunni Arabs.

Last week, Qatar said Iraq was not invited to a summit of mainly Sunni Gulf Arab states because ‘some (Iraqi) parties feel that they are not being taken as full citizens’.

Shia s, who form the majority in Iraq but who suffered discrimination under Saddam’s rule, deny the accusations.


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