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MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. The strengthening of cooperation in the oil and gas, energy and military-technical cooperation spheres between Russia and Iraq is of special significance, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday after talks with Iraqi colleague Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
The Russian minister said that the meeting "specially focused on the development of bilateral ties that have acquired positive dynamics, first of all in the trade an economic sphere." "In this connection, the strengthening of our interaction in the oil and gas sector, power engineering and military-technical cooperation sphere has a special significance," Lavrov said.
"Our economic operators, first of all Lukoil, Gazprom Neft are actively working in Iraq," Lavrov said. "They make a weighty contribution to the formation of the revenue part of the Iraqi budget."
"Our bilateral trade turnover is nearing $2 billion, and we share the view that this is far from the limit and also a stimulus for boosting interaction and search for new effective forms of joint efforts," the minister said.
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," said the Russian foreign minister. "Iraq fully uses scholarships the Russian government offers to Iraqi citizens. It’s particularly gratifying that the practice of annual training of Iraqi diplomatic personnel in the Diplomatic Academy has been established since 2012."
Lavrov said he was certain that the talks he had with Jaafari would be "of great importance for the advancement of promising projects within the framework of the bilateral cooperation development."