The United Arab Emirates summoned Iraq’s ambassador on Wednesday to protest accusations by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that Saudi Arabia was supporting terrorism, state media reported.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash handed ambassador Mowafak Mahdi Abboud a memorandum protesting Maliki’s “claims that Saudi Arabia supports terrorism,” the official WAM news agency said.
“Such remarks are false and not based on a proper assessment of the situation in the region concerning terrorism, especially as Saudi Arabia plays a significant role in combating all forms of terrorism,” said Gargash.
In an interview aired on Saturday, Maliki charged that Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Qatar were supporting militant groups in Iraq and across the Middle East as well as terrorism worldwide.
Saudi Arabia on Monday slammed Maliki’s accusations as “aggressive and irresponsible,” saying they were aimed at “blaming others for the domestic failures of the Iraqi prime minister.”
Riyadh accused Maliki’s Shiite-led government of implementing “sectarian and exclusionary policies,” in an apparent reference to the disgruntled Sunni Arab minority.
Iraq has been hit by a year-long surge in violence that has reached levels not seen since 2008, driven principally by discontent among its Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.