Dutch UN envoy at odds with Iraqi PM
Outgoing UN Special Representative for Iraq, Dutchman Ad Melkert, has taken the unusual step of openly contradicting the Iraqi government. Mr Melkert has publicly aired his disagreement with statements made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about the position of Iranian refugees in Iraq’s Ashraf refugee camp.
According to Mr Maliki, Mr Melkert said at a farewell meeting that the UN favoured Iraqi plans to send the refugees back to their homeland. But Mr Melkert has now issued a statement insisting that he said the opposite. The UN position is that the refugees should not be repatriated against their will.
The refugees sought asylum in Iraq during the regime of Saddam Hussein, as they supported the Iraqi dictator in his conflict with Iran’s Islamic regime. Now that Mr Maliki is keen to improve relations with Iran, the refugees are no longer welcome.
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