CAIRO: Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said he is “following with great concern the dangerous developments in Iraq.”
He added: “I call for giving priority to the national interest, avoiding bloodshed, and preserving civil peace in the country.”
Meanwhile, during a phone call with Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi stressed the need for dialogue, and expressed Cairo’s readiness to contribute to any joint effort to avoid escalation.
“I am saddened by the outcome of the current developments in this brotherly country, which has strong historical ties of brotherhood and Arabism with Egypt,” El-Sisi said.
“I call on all Iraqi parties to give priority to the supreme interest of their country in order to overcome the political crisis through dialogue and to achieve stability, security and prosperity for the Iraqis.”
Salih thanked El-Sisi for Egypt’s support for Iraq, and praised the two countries’ relations and historical ties. Al-Kadhimi explained to El-Sisi current efforts to pursue dialogue.
Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, where embassies and government institutions are located, on Tuesday witnessed armed confrontations for the second day in a row.
Twenty-three people have been killed since Monday after Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr announced his retirement from politics.
The decision resulted in thousands of his supporters storming the Republican Palace and clashing with the army and members of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Units.
After the palace was stormed, Al-Kadhimi suspended Cabinet meetings until further notice and called for an emergency security meeting at the military headquarters.
The Iraqi News Agency reported on Monday evening that Al-Sadr had started a hunger strike until the violence ends.
On Tuesday, he directed his supporters to withdraw from Parliament, a move praised by Al-Kadhimi.
“I am very saddened by what is happening in Iraq, and I offer my apologies to the Iraqi people,” Al-Sadr said during a press conference.
Iraq has been suffering from a severe political crisis since legislative elections in October 2021.