UN chief calls for de-escalation in Baghdad

“The Secretary-General urges all parties and actors to rise above their differences.” 
UN Secretary-General António Guterres (Photo: AFP)
UN Secretary-General António Guterres (Photo: AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Saturday night called on all relevant actors “to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation” in Baghdad.

He said any further violence should be avoided after at least 120 protestors were injured in Baghdad.

For the second time in a week, supporters of populist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stormed the Iraqi parliament, protesting the pro-Iran candidate the Coordination Framework nominated for prime minister, who is seen as close to former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.

“Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights that must be respected at all times,” Guterres said.

Moreover, he called on all parties to “rise above their differences” and form a new government through dialogue “that will be able to deliver on longstanding demands for reform.”

Also, on Saturday, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) expressed concern over the increasing violence and tensions in Baghdad.

It’s expected that the tensions will continue, as Sadr’s supporters are organizing continued sit-in protests at the Iraqi parliament, even bringing tents.

In a speech on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi called for calm and urged political parties to negotiate and reach an understanding on the Iraqi government formation for the “sake of Iraq” after the Coordination Framework threatened counter protests.