June 17, 2014 / 12:41 PM / 3 years ago

Baghdad blames Saudi Arabia for promoting "genocide" in Iraq

BAGHDAD, June 17 (Reuters) - Iraq’s Shi‘ite-led cabinet blamed Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for promoting “genocide” in Iraq by backing Sunni militants, in a statement which could exacerbate the sectarian polarisation in the Middle East.

Iraq has been stunned by a sudden lightning advance by Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant who captured the main city in the north, Mosul, a week ago and have since marched on towards Baghdad.

Saudi Arabia funds and supplies Sunni rebels in neighbouring Syria but denies it is behind ISIL. Nevertheless, Baghdad blames it for Sunni militancy in the region.

“We hold them responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that - which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide: the spilling of Iraqi blood, the destruction of Iraqi state institutions and historic and religious sites,” the statement said. (Reporting by Raheem Salman and Ned Parker; Editing by Peter Graff)

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