UN calls for restraint in Iraq following clashes

Beijing, Apr 27 (Xinhua-ANI): The top United Nations official in Iraq on Friday appealed for restraint and dialogue to stop escalating violence in the country, which has “killed and wounded hundreds,” a UN spokesman told reporters here.

“Martin Kobler, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, has called for restraint and serious dialogue following the recent clashes that killed and wounded hundreds across Iraq,” said Martin Nesirky, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon, at the daily briefing.

Kobler expressed his fear that the country could head towards the unknown if decisive measures are not taken immediately and effectively to stop the spiral of violence from unfolding further, said Nesirky.

According to earlier reports, at least two people were killed and 30 others injured when two bombing attacks hit worshipers near two mosques in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Friday. Elsewhere, at least 17 people were killed on Thursday in separate clashes and attacks across Iraq.

Thursday’s violence came two days after clashes erupted between Iraqi security forces and anti-government Sunni protesters in Hawijah, after hundreds of security members backed by helicopters stormed a sit-in by Sunni Arabs in the city, which sparked further clashes across Iraq between the Sunni tribes and the security forces.

According to Nesirky, the UN envoy for Iraq called on all religious and political leaders in the country “not to let anger win over peace, and to use their wisdom.”

“It is the responsibility of all Iraqi leaders to assume leadership and take bold initiatives, such as sitting together and calling in one voice for the immediate restoration of calm and for a broad-based national dialogue,” Nesirky quoted Kobler as saying.

The spokesman said that Kobler also appealed to the Iraqi government to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the Hawija incidents, in which clashes erupted between demonstrators and the Iraqi Security Forces. (Xinhua-ANI)