Saudi Arabia welcomes nomination of new Iraq PM as 'good news'

AFP , Tuesday 12 Aug 2014

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal on Tuesday welcomed the nomination of Haidar al-Abadi as the new prime minister of Iraq to replace divisive incumbent Nuri al-Maliki as "good news".

Sunni Saudi Arabia had strained ties with Shiite Maliki, whom it accused of creating conditions for a jihadist-led offensive by marginalising Iraq's Sunni Arab minority.

"This is the good news I heard lately," the veteran diplomat said during a news conference in the western Saudi city of Jeddah, when asked to comment on Abadi's nomination.

Oil kingpin Saudi Arabia shares more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) of border with Iraq and has been alarmed by the jihadist offensive led by Sunni militants who have captured large swathes of its neighbour.

In June, Prince Saud warned of the risks of civil war in Iraq with unpredictable consequences for the region and blamed Maliki's "sectarian policies" for the increased violence there.

Maliki in turn accused Saudi Arabia of supporting "terrorism" in his Shiite majority country.


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