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US tells Iraq to 'enact reforms, tackle corruption'

US tells Iraq to 'enact reforms, tackle corruption'
Top diplomat reaffirms US commitment to 'strong, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq,' says State Dept

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo told Iraq’s prime minister Tuesday to enact reforms and tackle corruption amid anti-government protests.

In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Pompeo had a telephone call with Abd al-Mahdi and deplored the death toll among protesters.

"Secretary Pompeo urged Prime Minister Abd al-Mahdi to take immediate steps to address the protesters’ legitimate grievances by enacting reforms and tackling corruption," said Ortagus.

During the call, Pompeo reaffirmed the U.S.'s "enduring commitment to a strong, sovereign, and prosperous Iraq."

More than 300 protesters have been killed and thousands injured in anti-government demonstrations throughout Iraq since Oct. 1, according to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights.

On Saturday, Amnesty International called on Iraqi authorities to rein in security forces to prevent a "bloodbath" in Iraq.

Popular anger has been simmering in Iraq in recent years due to rising unemployment and rampant corruption. Many residents have limited access to basic services such as electricity and clean water.

Iraq's youth unemployment is at around 25%, according to World Bank figures. It is also the 12th most corrupt country in the world, according to several organizations that monitor transparency.

source: News Feed
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