Egypt’s ambassador to Iraq updated Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on the developments of the volatile situation in Iraq, where extremist Sunni militants have taken over parts of the country and have clashed with the security forces.
Ambassador Ahmed Darwish met with Fahmy in Cairo and reported that up to 900 Egyptians had been evacuated from Iraq, according to a Sunday statement from the foreign ministry.
Darwish confirmed to Fahmy that the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan are “making intensive efforts” to contact Egyptians working in Iraq and evacuate them to Egypt or to safer locations inside Iraq depending on their desire.
Darwish informed Fahmy about “the overall developments in the political and security situation in Iraq, [and] presented the outcome of his contacts with Iraqi officials”.
Egypt’s permanent delegate to the Arab League participated in an emergency meeting of the council. Egypt’s position going in to this meeting is based “on the need to preserve the unity of Iraqi territory and territorial integrity and not to be divided along sectarian lines”, said Fahmy in a Saturday statement.
The minister is expected to attend a ministerial meeting of members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation scheduled to take place in Jeddah on Wednesday, which is also expected to discuss the situation in Iraq. The aim of the meeting is to discuss “the Arab position on the political developments and the current security situation in Iraq and the joint actions that can be taken to deal with the deteriorating situation in Iraq”.
The Shi’a government in Iraq launched a counter offensive against the militants on Sunday following a call to arms on Saturday. The militants, led by extremist Sunni group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have taken control of a whole province and parts of two others since they began their offensive last Monday in Iraq’s second city Mosul, according to AFP.
The United States has responded to the crisis by deploying an aircraft carrier in the Gulf, but Iraq’s Shi’a neighbour Iran believes Iraq is capable of pushing back the militants. However, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said if the US moves to repel the threat “then one can think about it”, reported AFP.