Britain will not lament death of Soleimani, PM Johnson says

Britain will not lament the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says, though he warns that reprisals would lead to greater violence.

The United States killed top military leader Soleimani outside Baghdad airport in a drone strike on Friday.

In his first intervention on the escalation of tensions in the Middle East, Johnson says he had spoken Sunday with US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He says he will speak to other leaders in the coming days.

“General Qassem Soleimani posed a threat to all our interests and was responsible for a pattern of disruptive, destabilizing behavior in the region,” Johnson says in a statement.

“Given the leading role he has played in actions that have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and Western personnel, we will not lament his death. It is clear however that all calls for retaliation or reprisals will simply lead to more violence in the region and they are in no one’s interest.”

Johnson says that following ministerial meetings and further international calls, MPs would be updated on the situation on Tuesday.

British troops are part of an international coalition of forces stationed in Iraq — invited by the government in Baghdad in 2014 — to help fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.


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