World, Africa

South Africa alarmed by escalating tensions in Iraq

Statement comes after US confirmed killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani by US airstrike

Hassan Isilow   | 04.01.2020
South Africa alarmed by escalating tensions in Iraq

JOHANNESBURG

The South African government said Friday it is alarmed by escalating tensions in Iraq which could have far reaching ramifications not only for the Middle East, but international peace and security.

South Africa reiterated the UN Security Council’s support for the “independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and prosperity of Iraq,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.

The statement was issued hours after the U.S. confirmed the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force Commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a senior commander of Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization Units, in an airstrike.

The strike followed the death of an American contractor killed in rocket attacks on a U.S. base in Iraq last week.

On Sunday, Washington carried out a series of strikes that led to the deaths of at least 25 fighters from the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group.

The U.S. said it killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region."

South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said in a statement: “It’s crucial for all sides to remain calm & desist from taking any further action that will exacerbate the already fragile situation.’’

She added, ‘‘South Africa emphasizes its principled view that conflicts should be resolved through political dialogue not resorting to the use of force.”

South Africa further said it reaffirms the statement of the United Nations Security Council issued Dec.13 where members “called for maximum restraint & urged all to refrain from violence or the destruction of critical infrastructure.”

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