This Article is From Apr 17, 2015

Iraqi Prime Minister Downplays Criticism of Saudi Airstrikes on Yemen

Iraqi Prime Minister Downplays Criticism of Saudi Airstrikes on Yemen

File Photo: Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi. (Agence France-Presse Photo)

Washington: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi sought Thursday to walk back sharp criticism of the Saudi air campaign against Shiite militias in Yemen, and welcomed news that the Saudi embassy in Baghdad will reopen.

Abadi had told reporters Wednesday that there was "no logic to the operation at all in the first place," according to the New York Times.

"Mainly the problem of Yemen is within Yemen."

But the Iraqi leader told a Washington think tank yesterday that while he was "frank" about the situation in Yemen, "my intention is not to criticize anybody."

Abadi, a Shiite, stressed, though, that decisions and actions taken within the Middle East region by other actors about Yemen "have their fallouts on us."

"We are on the same boat in the region. If anybody makes a hole in that boat we all will sink."

He stressed: "We are only giving some advice, some opinion on this. We don't intervene in their own affairs, and ask them not to intervene in our own."

Diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq were severed in 1990, but restored in 2004 after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime
Saudi Arabia announced in January it was sending a delegation to Iraq ahead of opening an embassy in Baghdad where its last mission closed nearly 25 years ago.

Abadi said the Saudi compound was "ready" for the new ambassador, adding that having a Saudi "embassy in Baghdad makes our job much easier."

The Saudi-led drive to push out the Huthi militias and restore to power ousted President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi is now in its fourth week