US closely monitoring situation in Iraq — Pompeo

WASHINGTON, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed Friday that the US is “closely monitoring” the situation of the violent protests in Iraq.

“From the beginning we have called on all sides to reject violence,” he said in a statement, noting that the US “welcomes any serious efforts made by the Government of Iraq to address the ongoing problems in Iraqi society.” He added that the Government of Iraq “should listen to the legitimate demands made by the Iraqi people who have taken to the streets to have their voices heard.” “The Government of Iraq’s investigation into the violence in early October lacked sufficient credibility and the Iraqi people deserve genuine accountability and justice,” he stressed.

He noted that “as the efforts announced by President (Barham) Saleh begin, the recently imposed severe restrictions on freedom of the press and of expression must be relaxed,” and that “press freedom is inherent to democratic reform.” “The US government continues to support Iraqi institutions, the Iraqi people, and Iraq’s security, stability, and sovereignty,” he affirmed. Protests in Baghdad and elsewhere is entering its eighth day calling for serious reforms in the country, during which 100 lives have been claimed and left the nation engulfed in much chaos.

Source: Kuwait News Agency