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Iraq extends deadline for closing MKO camp

Source: Mehr News Agency

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on Wednesday that his government had agreed to extend a year-end deadline for closing Camp New Iraq, which was formerly known as Camp Ashraf, by six months, Reuters reported.

Camp Ashraf, Iraq

About 3,400 members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) are based at Camp New Iraq.

"He (United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon) asked us to give them a chance and we gave them a chance. The case is now in the hands of the UN. We hope they will close this file, we don't want to hand them to Iran," Maliki said at a press conference.

"We don't want to kill them, we don't want to abuse them, and we don't want to make them starve. But their presence is illegal, so under any title, this has to end."

In an interview with the AFP on December 15, Maliki said that Baghdad's decision to close the camp is "irreversible."

"The decision we made is irreversible, especially because this organization refused the visit of a UN representative to Camp Ashraf," Maliki said.

"They've rejected the UN plan, which means this is a criminal gang, and we cannot permit a criminal gang to remain here," he added.

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