Iraq Hopes it Won’t Be Dragged into Another Regional Conflict

Wednesday, 26 June, 2019 - 18:45
Asharq Al-Awsat

Iraqi President Barham Salih hoped on Wednesday that his country would not be dragged into another regional conflict amid boiling tensions between its neighbor, Iran, and the United States.

"We have had four decades of challenge and turmoil. We do not want to be embroiled in another war," he said at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs think-tank in London.

"We cannot afford our country to be dragged into conflict."

With tensions high between Washington and Tehran, Salih insisted Iraq would not become "a staging post for belligerents".

"We are asking everybody to cool it down... enough is enough," he said.

"We do not want to be a victim of a conflict in Middle East. We have not finished the last one," the Iraqi president added, referring to the US-led war on terror and battle against the ISIS terrorist group.

"The US is a very important partner for Iraq."

Salih, who took office in October, said Baghdad's priority was "stability".

"We need to transform Iraq from a zone of regional and proxy conflict into a zone of trade, infrastructure development, and jobs and a future for young people," the 58-year-old said.

Salih had held talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday on security cooperation and nation-building.

May said Britain "stood ready to provide further support" to the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, her Downing Street office said.

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