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Pompeo via phone urges Iraq PM to enact reforms, tackle corruption amid protests

ANI | Updated: Nov 13, 2019 02:32 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 13 (ANI): US State Secretary Mike Pompeo in a phone call on Tuesday (local time) urged Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to enact reforms and tackle corruption amid a fresh wave of anti-government protests that started last month.
In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said that the Secretary of State had spoken to Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi and emphasized that peaceful public demonstrations are a fundamental element of all democracies.
The Secretary deplored the death toll among the protesters as a result of the Government of Iraq's crackdown and use of lethal force, as well as the reports of kidnapped protesters," the statement read.
Pompeo also urged the Iraqi Prime Minister to take immediate steps to address the protesters' legitimate grievances by enacting reforms and tackling corruption, it added.
The State Secretary, meanwhile, reaffirmed the United States' "enduring commitment to a strong, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq".
Lastly, he also pledged to continue to support the Iraqi Security Forces in fighting ISIS.
More than 300 protesters have been killed and thousands injured in anti-government demonstrations throughout Iraq since October 1, Anadolu Agency reported after citing the date from the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.
On Saturday, Amnesty International called on Iraqi authorities to rein in security forces to prevent a "bloodbath" in Iraq.
Popular anger has been simmering in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many residents have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.
Iraq's youth unemployment is at around 25 per cent, according to World Bank figures. It is also the 12th most corrupt country in the world, according to several organizations that monitor transparency.
However, there is no sign of protests abating as anger now focuses on foreign meddling in the country, as well as government failures. (ANI)