EU, UN condemn Iraq parliament protest, call for calm

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 30.04.2016 19:53
Updated 30.04.2016 19:58

European Union and the United Nations condemned the storming of the Iraqi Parliament by the pro Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr protesters on Saturday.

EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Federica Mogherini on Saturday criticised the storming of the Iraqi parliament by protesters as potentially destabilising the country.

Thousands of protesters earlier broke into Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone and stormed the parliament building after lawmakers again failed to approve new ministers.

The Iraqi capital was already on high alert for a major Shiite pilgrimage, participants in which were targeted in a bombing that killed 23 on Saturday, but extra security measures were taken after protesters stormed the Green Zone. State of emergency was also declared for Baghdad amid the incidents.

"The reported attack today on the Iraqi Parliament and the violent protests in Baghdad risk to further destabilise an already tense situation," Mogherini said.

"It appears a deliberate disruption of the democratic process. A rapid restoration of order is in the interest of the Iraqi people, who have been suffering for too long for the lack of stability in their country, and is in the interest of all the region, confronted by many threats."

Mogherini added that Brussels backed efforts led by Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to resolve the political impasse and urged lawmakers and the public to support and not disrupt them.

"It's crucial that all Iraqis and all the regional and international actors contribute to build a cooperative environment and a democratic, inclusive political process to stabilise the country," Mogherini concluded.

The U.N. mission to Iraq said it is "gravely concerned" after anti-government protesters breached the heavily-guarded Green Zone and stormed parliament.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) is headquartered in the Green Zone along with most government ministries and embassies.

After Saturday's breach, UNAMI issued a statement condemning violence against elected officials and urging "calm, restraint and respect for Iraq's constitutional institutions at this crucial juncture."

The statement said the U.N. mission "continues to operate from its headquarters in Baghdad's International Zone and is in constant contact with parties to facilitate a solution that meets the demands of the people for reform."

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