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Iraqis slam absence of country flag during Egyptian, Iraqi presidents’ meeting

Iraqi President Barham Salih (L) meets Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt on 24 February 2019. [IRAQI PRESIDENCY PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT - Anadolu Agency]
Iraqi President Barham Salih (L) meets Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (R) in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt on 24 February 2019 [IRAQI PRESIDENCY PRESS OFFICE/Anadolu Agency]

Iraqi activists have denounced the absence of their country flag during a recent meeting held between the Iraqi president Barham Salih and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Egypt’s eastern Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, Reuters reports.

A number of photos yesterday went viral on social media, showing a gathering between Salih and Sisi with only the Egyptian flag placed behind the two leaders. The meeting was held ahead of the start of the first-ever Egyptian-brokered Arab League-European Union (EU) summit.

Whenever two presidents hold an official meeting, they usually display their countries’ flags behind them based on an internationally-recognised protocol.

“We must not stay silent in front of this fatal mistake,” the prominent Iraqi activist, Manaf Al-Yasri, said on Facebook, stressing that the move was “deliberate by the Arab leaders to underestimate the Iraqi state.”

READ: Egypt denounces UN over executions criticism

Another social media activist, named Karim Motleb, described the incident as an “insult to the Salih and the Iraqi people.”

The Iraqi president has not commented on the incident yet.

In January, Spain apologised to the Iraqi government for “mistakenly” flying the outdated Baath regime Iraqi flag on the aeroplane of the Spanish King Felipe VI during his first visit to Iraq in decades.

Early on Sunday, Egypt inaugurated an Arab League-EU two-day summit, bringing together 24 European leaders – including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May – as well as leaders from 21 Arab countries.

The conference, which was organised under the slogan of “Investing in Stability,” was set to discuss climate change, terrorism, migration and Middle East stability. It was also said to would be tackling hot regional topics, including the crises in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and the Middle East peace process.

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