Sweden condemns attack on its embassy in Iraq

Berlin, Jul 20 (EFE).- The Swedish government condemned Thursday’s attack on its embassy in Iraq, after a group of protesters set fire to its diplomatic mission in Baghdad.

The incident came after week-long demonstrations against the burning of the Koran, the holy book of Islam, in the European country.

The Swedish foreign ministry described the attack as “unacceptable,” and said it would summon the Iraqi ambassador in Stockholm over the attack.

“Last night at 2 o’clock local time, violent demonstrators stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad. The embassy office was taken, vandalized and set on fire,” Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said in a statement.

This is the second such attack on the Swedish embassy in Baghdad in less than a month.

“What has happened is completely unacceptable and the government strongly condemns these attacks,” Billstrom said.

“Iraqi authorities have an unequivocal obligation to protect diplomatic missions and diplomatic personnel under the Vienna Convention. It is clear that the Iraqi authorities have seriously failed in this responsibility,” he added.

According to the statement, the Swedish government was in contact with high-level Iraqi representatives to express its “dismay” over the attack.

“Iraq’s chargé d’affaires in Stockholm will be summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the same purpose,” Billstrom noted.

The top diplomat said the Swedish embassy staff “fortunately managed to get to safety” during the attack.

“The government is now reviewing what further measures need to be taken due to what happened,” he said.

In the early hours of Thursday, Hundreds of protesters, supposedly sympathizers of the influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, entered the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, where foreign embassies are located, and set fire to the Swedish embassy facilities.

Iraqis have been protesting for a week in response to the burning of the Muslim holy book by radical elements outside a Stockholm mosque in late June, an act that has been widely condemned by the Arab nations and Islamic world.

The Swedish authorities have granted a new permit for a protest outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm on Thursday, where another Koran is expected to be burned. EFE


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