Iraq: Envoy's comments on ties with Israel incorrectly quoted by media

The ministry did not list the news organizations who misinterpreted Yasseen's comments.

By DAVID DIMOLFETTA
July 11, 2019 17:15
1 minute read.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Thomas Homan (L) shakes hands with Iraqi Am

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Thomas Homan (L) shakes hands with Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Fareed Yasseen, during an event to return several thousand ancient artifacts to the Republic of Iraq at the Iraqi ambassador's residence, in Washington, DC, U.S., May 2, . (photo credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

 
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Iraqi Ambassador to the United States Fareed Yasseen’s statements that he made about his country's potential ties with Israel were defended by the Iraq's Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

The ministry claimed he was "inappropriately" quoted by the media, according to reporting by Rudaw.

In a Facebook video posted last week, Yasseen seemed to argue for some sort of relations between Iraq and Israel.

“There are objective reasons that call for the erection of relations between Iraq and Israel, including the presence of a significant Iraqi community in Israel,” he said in the video.

He said objective factors are not enough to establish official ties with Israel due to “moral and legal reasons which Iraqis comply with.”

The ministry did not reveal the news organizations that misinterpreted Yasseen's comments. Videos on social media, however, showed him speaking with state-run Al-Iraqiya (IMN) TV.

“Countries and media give special importance to the Palestine issue, which is a key focus of conferences and meetings attended by our representatives and delegations abroad,” ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahaf said. “Sometimes they or their full expression gets cut and there were some people distorting the principled position of Iraq."

Al-Sahaf added that the ministry continues to hold its historical position on Israel-Palestinian relations, which “rejects Israeli invasion and the rape of Arab land” and that it stands by its “principle of boycott.”

Iraq has not officially recognized Israel since its declaration in 1948. It did, however, recognize the State of Palestine in 1988.

The Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are forbidden from having diplomatic relations with Israel. The KRG, however, has an office for a representative of the Jewish community in its Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs.

Tensions with Iraq escalated in June when protesters stormed the Bahrain Kingdom's embassy in Baghdad during the “Peace for Prosperity” conference held by Jared Kushner. Kushner, son-in-law of US President Donald Trump, used the forum in an attempt to champion an Israel-Palestine peace plan.

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