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Saudi attempts to encourage Iraq to join Qatar boycott

July 10, 2017 at 11:39 am

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Washington, US on 20 March 2017 [Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia exerted pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi in order to force him to join the boycott of Qatar, a source close to the Iraqi leader revealed to Arabi21.

The leader of the Dawa Party, Jassem Al-Bayati, told the news site: “Prime Minister Al-Abadi is under pressure from Saudi Arabia which used reconstruction of areas which have recently been freed from Daesh control as bargaining tools in exchange for standing against Qatar.”

Al-Bayati clarified that “Saudi Arabia pressed Al-Abadi to visit it on 14 June, but Al-Abadi refused and made his visit on 19 June since Riyadh wanted to manipulate the trip to serve its position against Qatar.”

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The Iraqi Member of Parliament added: “Saudi Arabia has donated $500 million to reconstruct the areas recaptured from Daesh and wanted to rebuild these cities, but it should hand over the funds to the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund.”

“Iraq told Saudi Arabia that it does not mind its participation in the reconstruction of these cities through the involvement in the tenders that will be organised to reconstruct what was destroyed by Daesh.”

Riyadh sought to bargain with Iraq and to encourage it to stand against the State of Qatar.

Al-Bayati said that “Iraq decided from the outset to be neutral and not interfere in the Gulf crisis,” and that “Al-Abadi announced this explicitly before his visit to Saudi Arabia.”