Iraq summit for 'regional stability' pushed back over Gaza war
Baghdad, Iraq (AFP) – An international summit in Baghdad on "regional stability" planned for late November has been postponed due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, an Iraqi official told AFP on Thursday.
The third edition of the Baghdad conference "for economic integration and regional stability", co-organised by France, "is postponed until further notice due to the regional events" in the Middle East, said Farhad Alaaldin, adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani.
Alaaldin noted "in particular what is happening in Palestine", referring to war that erupted after the October 7 attacks when Palestinian militants killed more than 1,400 people, Israeli officials say.
Israeli forces have since launched an intense bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip and sent in ground troops, killing nearly 8,800 people according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Confirming a report by French daily Le Figaro, Alaaldin said the Baghdad summit, which French President Emmanuel Macron was due to attend, had been pushed back "to focus on Iraq's efforts to reach a ceasefire and help the Palestinian people and their plight".
He did not say who was behind the postponement or when the summit would be held.
The gathering, which follows one in Baghdad in 2021 and another in Jordan late last year, was announced by the Iraqi and French governments in August with the aim of establishing "a regional agenda in support of Iraqi sovereignty" after years of unrest.
Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, Iraqi premier Sudani has criticised "the Zionist occupation", accusing Israel of committing "genocide" against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
The Palestinians enjoy broad support in Iraqi politics and society. Baghdad, like other governments in the Middle East including neighbouring Iran, does not recognise Israel.
Since the Gaza conflict began, there have been a string of attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria, deployed to the region as part of an international anti-jihadist coalition.
A group calling itself the "Islamic Resistance in Iraq" has claimed responsibility for many of the recent strikes on US forces via Telegram channels affiliated with pro-Iranian factions.
The surge in attacks on US troops is linked to the war between Hamas and Israel, which has had strong backing from Washington.
The United States has said Tehran shares the blame for some of the attacks by its regional proxies.
Iraq has endured nearly two decades of turmoil since the US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The jihadist Islamic State group seized roughly one third of Iraq and declared a "caliphate" in 2014, before its defeat more than three years later.