EU foreign policy chief condemns Iraq parliament attack

BRUSSELS (AA) – EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini condemned the storming of Iraqi parliament by supporters of prominent Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Sadr’s supporters stormed Baghdad’s Green Zone before forcing their way into the parliament building where they broke windows and smashed furniture.

They smashed barriers set up around the heavily-fortified Green Zone, which houses a number of vital Iraqi state institutions and foreign diplomatic missions.

In a written statement, Mogherini said: “The reported attack today on the Iraqi parliament and the violent protests in Baghdad risk to further destabilize an already tense situation.

“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.”

She added that the EU supported all efforts of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and other political leaders to resolve the current political impasse, and called on all parliamentarians and the public to support these efforts.

“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 stabilize the country,” she concluded.

Iraq has been embroiled in a deepening political crisis since March, when al-Sadr loyalists began staging protests in the capital to pressure al-Abadi to appoint a government of “technocrats” untainted by corruption or sectarian affiliations.

The crisis escalated further earlier this month when MPs refused to allow Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri to chair a scheduled assembly session, accusing him of failing to summon al-Abadi to answer corruption allegations.