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Baghdad Not at War With ‘Kurdish Brothers’: Iraqi FM

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Speaking in Doha with Qatari counterpart, Iraqi FM voices concern over Saudi Arabia's bellicose relationship with Iran.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has said his country is not at war with its “Kurdish brothers” but was merely acting against “illegal moves” by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) -- a reference to the latter’s recent illegitimate poll on regional independence.

At a Wednesday joint press conference in Doha with Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, al-Jaafari also voiced his country’s concern about the tense relations between Riyadh and Tehran.

“We are doing our best to promote good relations between them,” he said.

Al-Jaafari arrived Tuesday for an official visit to Doha during which he is expected to discuss Iraq-Qatar relations and recent developments in the region with Qatari officials.

At the press conference, the Qatari FM, for his part, said: “We hold the blockading states [i.e., countries that support an ongoing embargo of Qatar] responsible for the dissolution of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a collective security system.” 

In June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain all abruptly cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups in the region.

The four-nation bloc has threatened Qatar with further sanctions if Doha fails to meet a long list of demands, including one for the closure of Qatari news broadcaster Al Jazeera.

Doha, however, has so far refused to comply, vociferously denying the accusations against it and describing Saudi-led attempts to isolate it as a breach of international law.

Three of the four states involved in the embargo -- namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain -- are members of the six-nation GCC, which, in addition to Qatar, also includes Kuwait and Oman.

"The Gulf’s ongoing crisis is no small crisis,” the Qatari foreign minister said at Wednesday’s press conference.

“Creating a massive dispute out of nothing is proof that what has been done against Qatar is absurd and will have serious consequences," he added.

“Attempts to downplay Qatar’s [political] importance also confirms that they [i.e., the blockading states] are in crisis with international diplomacy and with themselves," the foreign minister asserted.

"We hope wisdom prevails,” Qatar’s top diplomat added, reiterating earlier appeals for dialogue with a view to resolving the crisis.


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