Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iraqi PM Confident of Saudi Backing | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi Arabia’s government and King Abdullah are resolutely standing by Iraq, until it regains its security and stability, according to Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al Maliki.

In response to a question by Asharq al Awsat on Sunday, the Iraqi premier said Saudi Arabia’s support of Iraq was not restricted to the “national reconciliation” initiative, but extended to the political, economic and media fields.

Speaking at a press conference after meeting with Saudi businessmen in this port city, al Maliki praised the efforts of the Saudi government to restore security and stability in the country.

Discussions with King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan were successful and fruitful, said the Iraqi premier.

Al Maliki attacked the “terrorist lions” that targeted professionals and doctors in Iraq and indicated that many doctors have requested to be provided with arms for protection. “In turn, the government agreed to their demand in order to ensure they protect themselves.”

“Everyday in Baghdad, doctors are being killed in their private clinics. This has lead to a crisis and a shortage of doctors in Iraq. This is why we have started moving many of them to compounds that are guarded by government forces.”

The Iraqi premier blamed the popularity of terrorist ideologies, which call for death and destruction, on the political circumstances that Iraq underwent during Saddam Hussein’s regime. He emphasized that the current Iraqi government and the people were committed to fighting terrorism, through military and ideological means.

Al Maliki, who left to Kuwait on Monday, said his government planned to re-train the security services in Iraq and halt the internal migration of Iraqis which was caused by sectarian violence.

The premier told those in attendance the current Iraqi government would focus on achieving national reconciliation. “We are working to accomplish three main pillars: reconciliation between the people of Iraq, security and the reconstruction of Iraq.”

He revealed the Iraqi government intended to establish a supreme committee for Hajj and Umra (the lesser pilgrimage) in coordination with the Saudi government. He proposed the creation of a joint committee that specializes in all the issues surrounding the pilgrimage.

While acknowledging that mistakes have occurred since the fall of Saddam’s regime in 2003, the Iraqi premier said, “In the [intertwining] years, we didn’t have a permanent government. The situation is now different; we now have a constitution, a parliament and a government that was elected by the people.”