CAIRO – 29 August 2022: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi made a phone call with Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih, on Monday, following the escalations among the conflicting parties in Iraq that led to inciting violence and killing 12 people of protesters and injuring 270 others.
President Sisi expressed Egypt's full support for Iraq, stressing the need to adhere dialogue and understanding to raise Iraq's national interest above any consideration.
President Sisi affirmed Egypt's readiness alongside the Arab countries to contribute to any joint effort to end any escalation and confrontations.
President Barham Salih expressed his sincere appreciation to the President for Egypt's continued support for Iraq, praising the distinguished relations between the two sides and the historical ties that unite the two countries and peoples.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command declared full curfew in the capital, Baghdad, starting from 15:30 local time, reported the Iraqi News Agency (INA) on Monday.
This comes as hundreds of Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr’s followers breached the highly fortified Green Zone and stormed government facilities, including the presidential and government palaces amid an unprecedented political crisis.
The storming took place shortly after the influential Shia cleric announced his “final” withdrawal from politics and closing relevant offices.
So far, 12 protesters were killed during the Green Zone incidents, while Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said an urgent investigations were launched into the incidents.
President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Al-Halbousi, and President of the Supreme Judicial Council Faiq Zidan called for calm, stopping political escalation, and adopting dialogue to resolve current differences.
In a statement, Kadhimi called for self-restraint, affirming that the latest developments reflect the danger of the repercussions of continued political differences.
He affirmed objection to the protesters’ storming of the state institutions as a "condemned and outlawed act”.
Kadhimi “calls for Sadr, who has always supported the state and stressed keenness on its prestige and respect for security forces, to help in calling for protesters to withdraw from government institutions,” the statement said.
"The continuation of political disagreement to the point of damaging all state institutions does not serve the Iraqi people’s capabilities, aspirations, future, and territorial integrity,” Kadhimi added.
The recent developments come while the country is mired in one of its worst political crises as a result of Sadr’s failure so far to form a majority government after winning the largest share of parliamentary seats in the elections in October.
The developments come shortly after Shia influential leader Ayatollah Kadhim al-Haeri announced stepping down as a religious authority, urging his supporters to back Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rather than the Shiite spiritual center in Najaf city.
Haeri’s remarks constituted a blow to Sadr, a staunch opponent of both Iran and the United States.