Dubai, (AFP) – Bahrain’s foreign ministry summoned Iraq’s envoy to the Gulf kingdom on Monday over what it charged were provocative comments made by Iraqi leaders, state media said.
The ministry complained to Iraqi envoy Najla Thamer Mahmud about the “unconstructive positions expressed in statements made by officials and political and religious leaders,” the official Bahrain News Agency reported.
The ministry singled out Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr “who has repeatedly made irresponsible statements on Bahrain and its people, including calls for sedition in a way that represents a flagrant interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs.”
Sadr’s movement holds several cabinet posts in Iraq’s national unity government.
Bahrain called on the Iraqi government to “assume its full responsibilities regarding such statements, which violate the sovereignty and stability of Bahrain.”
It also warned that those statements “do not help improve relations between the two brotherly countries as they stoke tension and destabilise regional security”.
The complaint comes four days after Sadr reportedly egged on Bahraini protesters, telling them “to continue to demonstrate” as the first anniversary of Shiite-led pro-democracy protests in the Sunni-ruled archipelago approaches.
“You will prevail, and we are behind you, supporting you,” Sadr reportedly said, addressing protesters in Bahrain, where security forces crushed a month-long protest movement last March.
Last year’s crackdown left 35 people dead, including five security personnel and five detainees who were tortured to death, a commission appointed by King Hamad found.
The commission accused police of using torture and excessive force.