Qatar to reopen embassy in Baghdad

Published May 29th, 2015 - 02:32 GMT

Qatar and Iraq have agreed to have the Qatari embassy reopened in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in a sign that the diplomatic relations between the two countries may be improving.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced the agreement on Friday.

“We have agreed to open the Qatari embassy in Baghdad to begin resuming diplomatic work,” al-Jaafari said in a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah in Baghdad.

Relations between Iraq and Qatar soured after Doha gave refuge to former Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi in April 2012. That same year, charges were filed against Hashimi for alleged involvement in terrorist activities.

Iraqi officials criticized Qatar for hosting Hashimi, calling the move “unacceptable” and urging the immediate repatriation of the fugitive official. Qatar denied the request and claimed that Hashimi enjoyed constitutional immunity.

Relations between Baghdad and Doha further deteriorated with the start of a major wave of activities by Daesh in the Arab country in June 2014. Baghdad has previously accused Qatar, along some other Arab countries, of supporting the Daesh militants.

During a visit to Qatar earlier in February, Iraqi President Fouad Masoum announced plans for the reopening of embassies in the two countries.

Baghdad has, however, rejected a similar demand by Saudi Arabia for the reopening of the Saudi embassy in Iraq. Saudi officials have already signaled their intention to do so.

Riyadh decided to shut down its embassy in Baghdad in 1990 after former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait.

Jafari, the Iraqi foreign minister, also said his country is against the deployment of foreign ground forces from the US-led coalition that has purportedly been conducting airstrikes against Daesh positions over the past months.

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