Saudi warning against Iraq break-up

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington has warned against a hasty US pullout from Iraq and said that dividing the country along ethnic lines would unleash massive ethnic cleansing.

    Prince Turki said problems would multiply if Iraq was divided

    Prince Turki al-Faisal on Monday cautioned against the notion of splitting the war-scarred nation into three sectors for Kurds, Shia and Sunnis.

    "To envision that you can divide Iraq into three parts [Sunni, Shia and Kurds] is to envision ethnic cleansing on a massive scale, sectarian killing on a massive scale and the uprooting of families."

    Withdrawal of American forces should only follow intense dialogue between Washington and the Iraqi government on their future relationship, Prince Turki said at the annual conference of the National Council on US-Arab Relations, a private outreach group.

    "Since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited," said Prince Turki.

    "Those who call for a partition of Iraq are calling for a three-fold increase in the problems. It is practically impossible for Iraq to be divided on sectarian lines or even on ethnic lines; there is just too much intermingling of Iraqis with each other in every part of Iraq," he said

    There has been a rise in calls for US troops to leave Iraq, after coalition forces suffered its highest casualty rate in October since the invasion in 2003.



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