DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates summoned Iraq’s ambassador on Wednesday to protest against his prime minister’s accusations that its ally Saudi Arabia was funding terrorism, state news agency WAM reported, while Bahrain called the comments “irresponsible”.
Saudi Arabia has already rejected Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s assertion on Saturday that it and Qatar were funding Sunni Muslim insurgents fighting in Iraq’s western Anbar province.
Maliki has long had chilly ties with Sunni-led Gulf Arab states, which in turn view him as too close to Shi‘ite Muslim Iran.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said that Maliki’s statements were “completely untrue and not based on any accurate assessment of the situation in the region with regards to terrorism,” WAM reported.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plays a prominent role in fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” WAM quoted Gargash as saying.
In Manama, Bahrain also strongly rebuked Maliki’s remarks against Saudi Arabia calling them “irresponsible and contradict the spirit of fraternal and neighborly relations” between the two countries, state news agency BNA reported late on Wednesday.
Qatar has not commented on Maliki’s remarks so far.
Iraqi forces have been fighting insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Anbar’s two main cities since January 1.
Reporting By Mirna Sleiman; editing by Rania El Gamal and Ken Wills