An American newspaper confirmed the intention of the United States to close its embassy in Baghdad if the attacks on it did not stop, while the Iraqi authorities stressed the need to confine weapons in the hands of the state and protect diplomatic missions from any attacks.
The Washington Post quoted an informed Western source as saying that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi that the United States plans to close its embassy in Baghdad if the attacks on it do not stop.
She added that the US diplomatic mission is aware of this scheme, and that a meeting between two European officials and American diplomats was arranged on Sunday evening.
The “Washington Post” indicated that it is not clear whether the White House has signed the decision to close the embassy, and that this procedure is expected to take 90 days before it is decided upon.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Iraqi parliament stated that its president, Muhammad al-Halbousi, held a meeting yesterday with the US ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Toller, in which he discussed bilateral relations and developments in the Iraqi and international arenas.
The statement stated that the two parties discussed “preserving the security of diplomatic missions from repeated attacks, and working to extend state control, impose law and achieve stability.”
For their part, the three presidencies in Iraq stressed the need to confine weapons to the hands of the state, protect diplomatic missions, and confront acts outside the law.
In a joint statement issued after a meeting between President Barham Salih, the two prime ministers and parliament, the Iraqi president’s office added that the security developments that the country witnessed in the recent period of targeting civilian and military centers and headquarters, and the continued assassinations and kidnappings against civilian activists, all represent targeting Iraq and its sovereignty.
The three presidents emphasized that declaring war is the prerogative of the state’s legislative and executive institutions and not the right of any other party, or to act on the basis of the state of war inside the Iraqi territories.
On the other hand, the Secretary-General of the Harakat al-Nujaba Movement in Iraq, Akram al-Kaabi, said that he is still awaiting the official position regarding what he called “the military barracks violating Iraqi sovereignty,” referring to the embassy “that America placed in central Baghdad to wreak corruption and sabotage in Iraq,” as he put it.
And the Al-Jazeera correspondent in Baghdad reported two days ago, citing a source in the office of Iraqi President Barham Salih, that Pompeo informed the Iraqi President by phone of his country’s intention to close its embassy in Baghdad soon in case the embassy was not repeatedly targeted by missile attacks.
In the context, a US State Department spokesman said, in response to a question by Al-Jazeera about the information about the closure of the embassy, that his country will not tolerate threats to its citizens serving abroad, and will not hesitate to take any action it deems necessary to maintain their safety.
The spokesman reiterated Washington’s position on what he described as the outlaw militias backed by Iran, which remain the biggest obstacle to stability in Iraq, as he put it.
He stressed that it is unacceptable to fire missiles at the US embassy in the country, attack US diplomats and others, and threaten law and order in Iraq. He also expressed the United States’ aspiration to continue working with its Iraqi partners to preserve the safety of American personnel and facilities.