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Diplomat says military presence in Iraq unacceptable without authorities’ permission

Russia would "continue to support the Iraqi government’s legitimate demands that the country’s sovereignty be respected," Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. Any military presence in Iraq is unacceptable if not agreed on with the country’s authorities, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Monday at the Sixth Conference of the Valdai Discussion Forum’s Middle East Dialogue.

"Some countries continue to add fuel to the fire by exploiting internal controversies in Iraq," the Russian diplomat said addressing the conference dubbed "The Middle East: When Will Tomorrow Come?" "We are highly concerned over attempts to play the religious card."

"We believe that any military presence in Iraq is unacceptable if not agreed on with the country’s authorities," Bogdanov went on to say adding that the stance was based on international law.

He stressed that Russia would "continue to support the Iraqi government’s legitimate demands that the country’s sovereignty be respected."

"The deliveries of military hardware to Baghdad have been boosting the combat capabilities of the Iraqi troops," the Russian diplomat added. "We have been also providing assistance to the Iraqi Kurdistan."

According to Bodganov, Moscow is convinced that it is impossible to restore stability in Iraq only by using force, so it is necessary "to reach national reconciliation" through a comprehensive dialogue.