BAGHDAD, February 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has arrived in Iraq on a visit for talks on bilateral cooperation, oil, gas and energy projects and the situation in Syria.
The Russian minister is planning to have talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
“Meetings in Baghdad will focus on measures to intensify political, trade, economic, humanitarian cooperation between the two countries,” the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on Thursday.
“The parties will exchange views on key projects in the oil, gas and energy sectors. The projects are being worked out and implemented. Russian and Iraqi officials will discuss mechanisms to search for and promote news forms of cooperation,” the report says.
“The talks will touch upon international and regional issues, including the situation in Syria. The parties are planning to consider the results of the two rounds of inter-Syrian talks and further steps towards searching for ways to terminate military actions, to stop the bloodshed in Syria and continue the political settlement,” the report says.
The tragic events in Syria have a negative impact on Iraq, the Russian ministry said. “There are hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Iraq. Illegal armed units continue to penetrate into Iraq. The situation is tense in adjacent Iraqi provinces. At present, Iraqi security forces conduct a special operation against militants, who seize settlements and commit crimes. Up to 200,000 local residents were forced to leave their houses. This fact seriously complicates the humanitarian operation in the country,” the report says.
“Russia believes that all states, which realise the terrorist threat, should express solidarity with Iraq to fight this evil. We uphold the Iraqi government’s efforts and will assist to it. In order to counter the terrorist threat it is necessary to promote a broad inter-Iraqi dialogue in order to normalise the situation and reach national accord ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections,” the ministry said.