Iraq asks Saudi Arabia to replace ambassador in Baghdad
Aug.29, Tehran: Iraq has asked Saudi Arabia to replace its ambassador in Baghdad after he said that Iranian-backed Shia paramilitary units were aggravating tensions with Sunni Muslims in Iraq, local media reported.
The request made by the Iraqi foreign minister's office on Sunday is a result of complaints by Iraqis that the Saudi ambassador, Thamer al-Sabhan, is seeking to diminish the influence of Shia politicians in Iraq.
Ahmed Jamal, Iraq's foreign ministry spokesman, said in comments to Al Aahd, a TV channel that belongs to Asaib Ahl al-Haq: "The presence of Sabhan is an obstacle to the development of relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia."
Jamal said on Twitter that the foreign ministry was "asking its Saudi counterpart to replace the ambassador of the Saudi Arabian Kingdom in Baghdad".
Saudi Arabia reopened its embassy in Baghdad in December after keeping it shut since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Sabhan was the first Saudi ambassador appointed since the reopening, which was seen as heralding closer cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, whose fighters control large expanses of territory in Iraq and Syria and have claimed bombings in Saudi Arabia, Al Jazeera reported.
The Oslo Times International News Network