German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said President Trump’s threat to slap sanctions on Iraq should Baghdad expel U.S troops based there “is not very helpful’.
“I don’t think you can convince Iraq with threats, but with arguments,” Maas told Deutschlandfunk radio on Monday, January 6, 2020, warning that years-long efforts to rebuild Iraq “could all be lost” if the situation escalates.
President Trump earlier vowed to hit Iraq with sanctions “like they’ve never seen before” if U.S troops are forced to leave the country.
The threat came after Iraqi Lawmakers voted on Sunday, January 5, 2020, to request the Government end an agreement with a U.S-led international coalition to fight the hardline Islamist group IS in the region.
Tensions have soared following the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani by a U.S drone strike in Baghdad on Friday, January 3, 2020.
A furious Tehran has since announced a further step back from its commitments to the 2015 nuclear accord, leaving the future of the hard-fought pact in doubt.
European leaders have called for an urgent de-escalation of tensions, but Maas admitted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had hoped for more full-throated backing from allies.