IRAQ’S PRESIDENT Barham Salih addresses a recent forum in Baghdad. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
"We have had four decades of challenge and turmoil. We do not want to be embroiled in another war," said Iraqi President Barham Salih concerning recent escalations between Iran and the US to a think-tank in London on Wednesday, Radio Farda reported. "We are asking everybody to cool it down...enough is enough."
"We cannot afford our country to be dragged into conflict," Salih added.
Salih added that Iraq's priority is "stability," saying, "we need to transform Iraq from a zone of regional and proxy conflict into a zone of trade, infrastructure development, and jobs and a future for young people," according to Radio Farda.
The Iraqi president also stressed that he did not want Iraq becoming a staging ground for any action against Iran, according to the Hezbollah affiliated Al-Manar
"We do not want our territory to be a staging post for any hostile action against any of our neighbors, including Iran. This is definitely not part of the agreement between the Iraqi government and the United States," he said, according to Al-Manar
The Iraqi leader pointed out that the War on Terror which has been waged within Iraq since 2001 has still not ended. "We do not want to be a victim of a conflict in Middle East. We have not finished the last one," Salih said according to Radio Farda.
Salih stated that it is in Iraq's "national interests" to have a "good relationship" with Iran, but added that the US is a "very important partner" for the country as well.
In response to US President Donald Trump's decision to cancel a strike on Iran, Salih stated that "obviously we are happy that a war has been averted. This part of the world has been going through cycles of conflict for so many years. We don’t need another war and there is no military solution to this problem," Al-Manar
"It is easy to start a war, but very very difficult to end the war," Salih said.
Salih addressed US sanctions on Iran, saying that there is "no doubt" that the sanctions are causing damage. "The escalation is hurting the entire region not just Iran, to be fair," he added.
Salih also stated that it is impractical to expect Iraq to isolate itself from Iran, stating that "to expect Iraq to basically separate itself from Iran with 1,400 kilometers of borders and the important social, religious, economic interests that bind Iraq and Iran together is just not practical," according to Al-Manar.
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