Riyadh condemns ‘sectarian’ policies in Iraq

Saudi Arabia also calls for the formation of a national unity cabinet and rejects any foreign interference in its neighbor

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Saudi Arabia denounced on Monday “exclusionary and sectarianism” policies in Iraq where Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is facing a growing Sunni-led insurgency and called for the formation of a national unity cabinet in its neighbor.

Saudi Information and Culture minister Abdulaziz bin Mohiuddin Khoja, speaking following a Cabinet meeting, said the government had discussed the situation in Iraq and expressed “deep concern” about the developments there.


“The developments would not have occurred were it not for the sectarian and exclusionary policies in Iraq over the [past] years that have threatened its security, stability and sovereignty,” Khoja told the Saudi Press Agency.

The kingdom also rejected “any foreign interference in the internal affairs” of Iraq, stressing the need to “safeguard the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity” of the country.

Riyadh also called for the “formation of a national unity government as soon as possible in order to restore security and stability and avoid the policies built on religious and sectarian [provocation] that have been practiced in Iraq.”

“[The government] also stressed the need to exert all efforts to protect civilian lives and reduce their hardships,” Khoja said.

Sunni militants belonging to the powerful Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria have in the past weeks launched an offensive against government troops, gaining swathes of territory and posing a challenge to the Shiite-dominated government of Maliki.

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