Iraq Breaks Ties With Libya Over Support for Iran

Associated Press

The Baghdad government broke diplomatic relations with Libya on Wednesday to protest the North African country's support for Iran in the nearly five-year-old Iran-Iraq War.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Iraq will recall its diplomatic mission from Tripoli, the capital of Libya, and it asked Libyan diplomats in Baghdad, including the ambassador, to leave Iraq.

The statement, distributed by the state news agency, added: "Iraq announces the withdrawal of its recognition of the Libyan regime as a member of the Arab League."

It cited "the alliance between the two aggressive regimes (of Libya and Iran) against Iraq" as its reason for breaking with the Libyan government, headed by Moammar Kadafi.

The Soviet-backed Arab nations of Syria and Libya have openly sided with Persian Iran in its fight against Arab Iraq. Iranian Parliament Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani recently visited the two countries.

Libya-Iran Communique

The break in Iraqi-Libyan relations followed a joint Libyan-Iranian communique that was released by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency, upon Rafsanjani's return to Tehran on Tuesday. The communique reaffirmed Libya's "staunch support" of Iran in its war with Iraq.

Relations between Iraq and Libya soured with the outbreak of the war in September, 1980, and less than a month later, Iraq announced that it was withdrawing its diplomatic personnel from Libya, Syria and North Korea to protest their support for Iran.

But although neither Iraq nor Libya announced a formal exchange of diplomatic representation, a thaw had developed and some diplomats returned to the missions, including a Libyan ambassador who arrived in Baghdad last September.

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