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Middle East

Saudi says Iraq charge it backs terrorism is "ludicrous"

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal (R) speaks during a joint news conference with Algeria's Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra in Riyadh April 15, 2014. (REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser)

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia dismissed Thursday an accusation by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the kingdom backed Sunni militants who seized swathes of northern Iraq last week.

"The Iraqi prime minister accuses the Kingdom of being a sponsor of terrorism, which is a ludicrous charge, when Saudi Arabia has criminalized terrorism, especially ISIS," Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told reporters in Jeddah, referring to the militant Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

The Shiite-led Iraqi government has repeatedly accused its Sunni Gulf neighbours of backing insurgents in Iraq's restive West. The unfolding crisis has brought relations to a new low.

"I think the country that has suffered most from terrorism and combating terrorism and continuing to combat it...is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," Prince Saud said.

"(Our) advice to the Iraqi official to combat terrorism in his country is to follow the policy which the Kingdom is following and not to accuse it of being with terrorism...praise be to God we have cleaned our country of this epidemic," he added, in an apparent reference to Maliki.

 

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