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Iraqi VP says Baghdad greatly appreciates Russia's role in sustaining regional security

July 24, 11:38 UTC+3

One of the key objectives for Iraq is to develop cooperation with Russia in various spheres, Iraq's Vice President Nouri Al-Maliki said

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MOSCOW, July 24. /TASS/. Iraq has big hopes for Russia in keeping the security in the region, Iraq's Vice President Nouri Al-Maliki said on Monday during a meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

One of the key objectives for Iraq is to develop cooperation with Russia in various spheres, he said.

"We are grateful to you for the role Russia is playing in the region," he said. "And we have big hopes for you in maintaining the security in the region."

"Even though we have achieved certain process in our relations, we still should improve them in various spheres," Al-Maliki said.

On Russia’s presence in Iraq

Iraq is on the threshold of a new development stage and is interested in Russia’s participation to keep political balance in the country, al-Maliki said.

"The process we have achieved in the fight against terrorism allows us to say that we are now beginning a new stage - the stage of restoring the country’s stability," the vice-president said.

However, there is a probability that Iraq "will be subjected to new challenges in the political sphere and this is linked with interference from outside into the region’s internal affairs," he noted.

"Now that we are on the threshold of a new stage, on the eve of elections, we want Iraq to become a home land for all rather than a country where various components and parties are living," al-Maliki said.

"Our interest is that friendly Russia should be present in Iraq, thus creating political balance," the vice-president said.

Iraq would like this balance to be maintained through "interaction in the energy sector, in military and technical cooperation and in the political sphere," the vice-president said.

"We need Russia’s more active participation in Iraqi affairs," he said.

"Now that we have done with the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State terrorist organization outlawed in Russia], Iraq needs investments," al-Maliki said.

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