Al-Maliki’s allegation ludicrous, says Saud

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JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia on Thursday dismissed 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 ISIL,” Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal said during his closing remarks in the 41st session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers Conference. He was referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The Iraqi government has repeatedly accused its Gulf neighbors 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.

The two-day OIC meeting in Jeddah affirmed that the world body members will stand “united in combating sectarian, confessional, and exclusion policies that have led to sedition in some countries and threatened their security and stability,” said a statement read by Prince Faisal.

The situation in Iraq, Syria and the Palestinian territories — followed with the region’s national security — took up much of the discussions for OIC foreign ministers.

At the conference, the ministers in attendance also discussed challenges faced by Muslim minorities in some countries.

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