Iraq recalls charge d'affaires to Qatar over conference

Iraq recalls charge d'affaires to Qatar over conference
The foreign affairs ministry in Baghdad recalled for consultation its most senior diplomat from Qatar’s capital in a spat over a conference about Iraq held in Doha recently.
2 min read
09 September, 2015
Tensions between the Gulf states and Iraq have seen recent improvement [Getty]
The Iraqi foreign ministry has recalled its deputy ambassador in Qatar over a conference on the future of Iraq which Doha hosted last week.    

Baghdad says it was not consulted about the meeting and considers the event a 'blatant interference' in its affairs.

Offcial spokesman Ahmad Jamal said on Monday that the diplomat had been ordered back because the 'national reconciliation' conference, included a number of figures  wanted by the authorties in Iraq.
“The event last week was held in the Qatari capital Doha without the knowledge of the Iraqi government. The conference was blatant interference in Iraq's internal affairs," Jamal said.

He added that Baghdad's move has come as a result of of what he described as Qatar's 'reluctance' to explain the motives behind hosting a political conference.

Attendees at the conference included former Finance Minister Rafi al-Issawi and former Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. Both Sunni politicians have arrest warrants issued against them under anti-terrorism laws.

Al-Araby al-Jadeed’s Arabic service reported Qatari diplomatic sources as saying that the Iraqi government was fully aware of the conference in advance and that the Iraqi defence minister was invited but declined.

The closed-door meeting included several Sunni groups and was intended to unify the Sunni voice that would then call for a UN-backed national reconciliation conference.

Jamal said the event threatened "to harm the fraternal relations between Iraq and its sister state of Qatar".

The conference last Thursday coincided with an official visit to Qatar by the Iraqi Speaker of the Parliament Salim al-Jabouri who later issued a statement to clarify that he was not involved in the conference.

Tensions between the Sunni-ruled states of the Gulf and Iraq, which has a Shia Muslim majority, have eased since Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi took office last year.

Qatar earlier this year reopened an embassy in Baghdad for the first time since its closure in 1990 in light of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.