EU concerned about protests in Iraq and calls for an end to violence
Expressing concern over ongoing protests in Iraq after supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr and security forces clashed as the Shiite imam announced his departure from politics, the European Union urged all parties to exercise restraint “to prevent further violence”.
In a statement, the EU urged all parties to exercise restraint “to prevent further violence” and called on “political forces to resolve issues through constructive political dialogue within the constitutional framework”, Al Jazeera reported. .
After Muqtada al-Sadr announced on Monday that he was quitting politics, thousands of his supporters stormed Iraq’s presidential palace and clashed with security forces, killing 20 people.
Veteran Kurdish politician Masoud Barzani also called for restraint and urged the parties “not to use the language of arms and violence in conflict resolution”, Al Jazeera reported.
Barzani, the former president of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq and leader of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party, also called on all parties to “think about solutions that do good for the Iraqi people and take account of the general interest of the people”. and the country”.
Meanwhile, Turkey has urged its citizens to avoid traveling to Baghdad and called for “inclusive dialogue” to resolve the ongoing crisis.
“Turkiye is concerned about developments in brotherly Iraq,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. He further added that he hoped that the current political conflicts would be resolved peacefully and through inclusive dialogue, and that the peace and well-being of the Iraqi people would be ensured.
Earlier, Muqtada al-Sadr had announced a hunger strike until the protesters’ violence and use of weapons ceased, according to media reports.
“Iraq’s Moqtada al-Sadr reportedly announced a hunger strike until the violence and the use of weapons cease,” Al Jazeera reported citing Iraqi state media.
The Shia cleric announced his resignation from politics, following which military reinforcements were sent to the presidential palace as Al Sadr supporters knocked down cement barriers outside the government building in support of the ecclesiastical.
An immediate curfew was put in place soon after as Palace security could not control the mass of protesters.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urges all “stakeholders” to take immediate action to de-escalate the situation and avoid violence.
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General in the statement, said the UN chief strongly urges all parties and actors to overcome their differences.
“The Secretary-General has followed with concern the ongoing demonstrations in Iraq today, during which demonstrators entered government buildings. He is particularly concerned by reports of casualties. He appeals for calm and restraint and urges all relevant actors to take immediate action to de-escalate the situation and avoid any violence,” the statement read.
“The Secretary-General strongly urges all parties and all actors to overcome their differences and engage, without further delay, in a peaceful and inclusive dialogue on a constructive way forward,” he added.
Earlier in July, scores of Iraqi demonstrators, mostly supporters of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, stormed the heavily fortified parliament building in Baghdad to protest the nomination of prime minister by rival parties backed by Iran. The demonstrators opposed the candidacy of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani for the post of Prime Minister, deeming him too close to Iran.
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