Qatar tried to split Iraq: Vice president

Qatar tried to split Iraq: Vice president

Iyad Allawi

Cairo — Qatar promoted a plan to split Iraq along sectarian lines, Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi said on Saturday, voicing support for the isolation of Doha by some Arab states. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have broken off ties and imposed sanctions on Qatar, saying it supports terrorism and courting Iran. Allawi is a secular Shiite politician who has some support within Iraq’s Sunni community. “In Iraq, Qatar adopted a project similar to that of Iran; to split Iraq into a Sunni region in exchange for a Shiite region,” Allawi told a news conference in Cairo. Allawi was in Cairo to meet Egyptian leaders including President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for discussions about oil and the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya. “It is time we all spoke honestly and made things clear (to the Qataris) so we can reach some results,” Allawi said. “After that confrontation, comes reconciliation.” Meanwhile in Addis Ababa, Eritrea’s government said Qatar has not yet explained why it withdrew 450 peacekeeping troops from the East African nation’s contested border area with Djibouti. Djibouti has accused Eritrean troops of occupying the Dumeira mountain area shortly after Qatar’s peacekeepers left earlier this week. Qatar, which is caught up in its own diplomatic clash with other Arab nations, had mediated a territorial dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea. In a statement sent Saturday to The Associated Press, eritrea’s information ministry said Eritrea has not received any explanation from Qatar on its “hasty” withdrawal, which it said occurred “against the backdrop of a turbulent climate.” Eritrea’s top diplomat to the African Union, Araia Desta, says the country has not cut ties with Qatar. Eritrea has said it wants no confrontation with Djibouti. — Agencies