MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Russian Presidential Special Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and former Iraqi Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin have discussed the current state of affairs in the country and the May parliamentary election, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
"During the talk, [Bogdanov and Amin] shared views on the current state of affairs in Iraq and prospects following the elimination of ISIS presence (the Islamic State terrorist group, banned in Russia) and in the context of the parliamentary election scheduled for May in the Republic of Iraq," the ministry said.
The Islamic State invaded Iraq in the summer of 2014 and seized the second-largest city of Mosul, Nineveh province, declaring it the capital of so-called Caliphate. In 2015, the Iraqi government forces supported by the international coalition mounted an operation to retake the areas controlled by terrorists.
In December 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the Islamic State in the country.
Nevertheless, on Tuesday Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq Jan Kubis said, addressing a session of the United Nations Security Council, that the Islamic State and its cells continue posing a threat in Iraq in the run-up to the parliamentary election scheduled for May 12.
According to Kubis, while law enforcers are purging the country from remaining fighters of the Islamic State, the emphasis has been shifted to preparations for the election. Therefore, the main concern is efforts aimed at creating a safe and secure environment for the vote.