Iraq summons Saudi envoy to protest at comments on internal affairs

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 24, 2016 10:11 AM

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The Iraqi foreign ministry said on Sunday it had summoned the Saudi ambassador over comments he made to the media a day earlier regarding Iranian-backed Shi'ite Muslim militias in Iraq.

"This constitutes...a breach of diplomatic protocol and is based on inaccurate information," the ministry said in a statement about Saudi envoy Thamer al-Sabhan's remarks, in which he said the Hashid Shaabi militia should leave the fight against Islamic State militants to the Iraqi army and official security forces in order to avoid aggravating sectarian tensions.

"The Hashid Shaabi are fighting terrorism and defending the country's sovereignty and acting under the umbrella and command of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces," the statement said, referring to the coalition of mainly Shi'ite paramilitary groups.

(Reporting By Stephen Kalin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)