Slovenia Stands With US After Attacks in Iraq, Issues Travel Alerts

By , 03 Jan 2020, 11:24 AM Politics
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STA, 3 January 2019 - The Slovenian Foreign Ministry has condemned attacks on coalition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and an attack on the US Embassy compound in Baghdad in the strongest terms, urging the Iraqi authorities to ensure security of diplomatic missions in the country.

 In a response echoing the position of the EU, the Foreign Ministry also expressed its condolences to the families of those killed in the attacks and to the governments of the US and Iraq.

In a release issued last night, the ministry said that State Secretary Dobran Božič had spoken with US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard in connection to the attacks.

Several thousand protesters attacked the US Embassy compound on Tuesday angered by US air strikes targeting an Iran-backed militia in Iraq and Syria.

The strikes were in retaliation for a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk on Friday in which an American civilian contractor was killed.

In a major escalation of tensions between the US and Iran, General Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, was killed in a US air strike in Iraq early on Friday.

In response to the development, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry issued a travel alert on Friday advising against travel to parts of Iran.

The ministry also called on Slovenian citizens in Iran or heading there in the coming days to avoid public rallies, events or funeral ceremonies held in the wake of Soleimani's death.

The ministry noted that the general's mortal remains would shortly be brought to Iran and that mass funeral ceremonies and protests were planned throughout the country.

"Due to the population's emotional reactions we advise Slovenian citizens not to take part in such events and to limit their movements in public spaces," reads the ministry's release.

The ministry advised against any non-urgent travel to parts of Iran, including within a 100 kilometre perimeter of the Iranian-Afghan border and a 10 kilometre perimeter along Iran's border with Iraq.

The ministry also identified as risky the area along the Pakistani border and advised against travel to the Hormozgan Province along the Persian Gulf.

Travellers to eastern Iran are advised to stick to main thoroughfares and to avoid travelling at night, in particular outside major towns.

The ministry also advised against any travel to the south-eastern provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan and Kerman due to abductions of tourists and travellers there.

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