Baghdad (NINA) – Official talks between Iraq and Russia started on Friday, April 10, in Moscow. Maliki met, in his second day of the visit, with Russian President, Dmitriy Medvedev, and Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, with whom he held talks dealt with the deep rooted relations in various fields.
Maliki’s visit comes part of a European tour that includes France and Britain.
The Iraqi delegation reflects the nature of the issues that will be dealt with, it includes the Foreign, Defence and Electricity ministers as well as experts from the Ministry of Oil.
A source at the Kremlin shed light on the issues to be discussed by saying, they are related to opening a new phase in the course of developing friendship and fruitful cooperation between Moscow and Baghdad, clarifying that both sides will discuss regional issues, including stability in the Gulf, beside joint works and cooperation in the fields of oil, gas and electricity; that would affirm Russian firms participation in Iraq’s reconstruction and development, as well as activating mutual political, cultural, scientific and technical relations.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, expressed hope that Maliki’s visit would contribute in developing Iraq-Russia trade and economic relations.
For his part, Russian Energy Under secretary, Anatoli Yabuvisky, said that, “The talks will concentrate on Russian companies’ participation in executing Iraq’s oil and gas projects and paying special interest in discussing issues related to the fate of previous agreements concluded by Russian firms with Iraq to invest in western Qurna oil field.
Early in April, Iraq’s Oil Ministry took a step, described of being an expression of good intention, of including three Russian companies to a list of nine international oil companies in preparation to sign with them oil and gas investment contracts.
On the eve of Maliki’s European tour, talks centered on oil and gas contracts, as well as other fields, in which Maliki expressed Iraq’s intention to develop and strengthen its relations with Russia and France, who have long and strong relations with Iraq, praising their positive stances towards Iraq; especially Russia who wrote off $ 11 billion of Iraq’s debts and France who wrote off 80% of its debts on Iraq.
With regards to Iraq’s relations with France; Baghdad and Paris reinstated their military cooperation through signing a contract that include Iraq’s purchasing 24 transport helicopters, which is the first military contract between the two countries since 1990. In his visit to Iraq on the 10th of last February that was the first to a French President since 1921, President, Nicolas Sarkozy, suggested an unlimited military cooperation.
It is worth mentioning that Maliki’s talks in France will cover various issues, while during his visit to Britain, Maliki will meet in London with Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, they will jointly chair a conference on investment in Iraq to be held in the British capital.
It is worth noting that Western Qurna Oil field alone contains a reserve of over 20 billion barrels of oil; while Iraq’s Oil Ministry is carrying out plans to rehabilitate Iraq’s 78 oil and gas fields of which only 15 are being utilized. / End.