Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Iraq denies he was assaulted

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Iraq Thamer Al Sabhan has denied media reports that he was physically assaulted at a conference in the capital Baghdad, saying that he had been out of the country for more than three weeks. Reports in Iraq claimed that Al Sabhan had to leave Al Rasheed Hotel where an inter-tribal conference was taking place after he was abused by protestors opposed to his presence. However, Al Sabhan said there was no truth to the allegations and that the reports lacked credibility. Al Sabhan on his Twitter account said that the allegations were part of the media campaigns targeting Saudi Arabia. Al Sabhan was appointed to Iraq in June last year, becoming the first Saudi ambassador in Baghdad after a 25-year hiatus. Saudi Arabia shut its embassy in the Iraqi capital in 1990 after former president Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Even though Saddam was ousted in April 2003, relations between Riyadh and Baghdad remained tense, particularly during the presidency of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki.



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