Russia, Iraq eye closer economic, military cooperation
MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday his country will continue enhancing Iraq’s combat capability in the face of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Speaking to reporters after his talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari here, Lavrov said cooperation with Iraq in the economic, energy and military-technical spheres is of great significance for both countries.
Russia supports the efforts being made by the Iraqi government to maintain the territorial integrity and safety of Iraq and restore national concord, he said.
Lavrov commended as cordial and constructive his talks with Al-Jaafari, saying the two sides hold almost identical views on regional and international issues.
The talks dealt with regional issues such as the situations in Syria, Libya and Yemen as well as the status-quo of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, he said voicing regret for the stalemate in the peace talks.
Asked about Russia’s stance on the international coalition against ISIL, he said the activities of the coalition in Iraq are based on agreement with the Iraqi authorities.
Unlike, the coalition fails to coordinate action against ISIL in Syria with the Syrian authorities, he regretted.
“Washington agreed to work with Damascus for addressing the file of chemical weapons but failed to do so vis-Ø£ -vis terrorism,” he said, criticizing that US stance as politicized and unconstructive.
On energy cooperation with Iraq, Lavrov said: “Our operators, notably Lukoil, Gazprom Neft, are actively working in Iraq; they make a weighty contribution to the formation of the revenue part of the Iraqi budget.” “Our trade volume is nearing USD two billion and we share the view that this is far from the limit and also a stimulus for boosting interaction and quest for new effective forms of joint efforts,” the Russian minister pointed out.
He said that Jaafari as co-chair of the bilateral intergovernmental trade-economic cooperation commission would discuss these issues with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
“We have vast experience in the development of humanitarian and cultural relations,” the Russian minister added.
On his part, Al-Jaafari expressed gratitude to Russia for its support to Iraq in the military, economic and diplomatic fields.
“We highly value Russia’s unfailing stance in favour of helping our country,” he said, describing his talks with Lavrov as candid and very successful.
Al-Jaafari said that during his trips around the globe he could see with his own eyes the influence which Russia had had on world history and culture and what noticeable contribution it had made.
“Our relations have a solid basis. About 400 agreements and memorandums were signed in the previous period. Despite embracing many aspects of cooperation, they still do not correspond to the current level of interaction in full measure,” the Iraqi minister added.