The UAE has summoned Iraq's ambassador over accusations by Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, that Saudi Arabia supported terrorism, state media reported.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash handed ambassador Mowafak Mahdi Abboud a memorandum protesting against Maliki's claims that "Saudi Arabia supports terrorism," the official WAM news agency said on Wednesday.

"Such remarks are false and not based on a proper assessment of the situation in the region concerning terrorism, especially as Saudi Arabia plays a significant role in combating all forms of terrorism," said Gargash.

In an interview aired on Saturday, Maliki claimed Saudi Arabia and neighbouring Qatar were supporting armed groups in Iraq and across the Middle East, as well as what he described as "terrorism worldwide".

Saudi Arabia on Monday described Maliki's accusations as "aggressive and irresponsible", saying they were aimed at "blaming others for the domestic failures of the Iraqi prime minister".

Riyadh accused Maliki's Shia-led government of implementing "sectarian and exclusionary policies", in an apparent reference to the disgruntled Sunni Arab minority, reported AFP news agency.

Iraq has been hit by a year-long surge in violence that has reached levels not seen since 2008, driven principally by discontent among its Sunni Arab minority and by the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

Source: AFP