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Iraqi vice president hails Russia’s ‘tremendous contribution’ to Middle East cohesion

"Russia has made a tremendous contribution, in particular in Syria and Iraq, to prevent the disintegration of the region," Nouri al-Maliki said

STRELNA, July 25./TASS/. Iraq’s Vice President Nouri al-Maliki emphasized on Tuesday Russia’s tremendous contribution to settling the difficulties the Middle East faces.

"Russia has made a tremendous contribution, in particular in Syria and Iraq, to prevent the disintegration of the region. We sincerely thank you," the vice president said as he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. "Were it not for your role, the map of the region would have changed now, and negatively for us," he went on.

Nouri al-Maliki added that despite the success achieved in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East, there is a risk of a new surge in terrorist activity in the region. "We have clinched a victory in certain regions, but now we must concentrate on success in the sphere of security, as terrorists can continue attacks against civilians," he said.

Focusing on the situation in his country, the high-ranking Iraqi official said a political system where the division of power comes as a result of ethnic descent and faith, remains a breeding ground for terrorists.

"If this principle of division of powers based on ethnic-religious quotas continues, it may spark a new round of terrorist activity. That is why we have a project at the moment, and we would like to get assistance for it from everybody who is interested. The project envisages a return to the principles of democracy as well as conferring authority to the political majority," the vice president said.

Al-Maliki also thanked Putin for "Russia taking an honest stance and agreeing to boost the supplies of those armaments on which we had agreed to before at a time when we came under a massive and fierce attack, in which the political goals were potentially dangerous for the whole region".

Shifting to the war on terror, al-Maliki said it must be waged strategically both from a military and political point of view. "The crisis in Iraq and Syria cannot be solved only militarily. Political efforts are also needed to end discord among different groups of society," he said.

Al-Maliki, the leader of the Rule of Law parliamentary coalition, arrived in Russia on July 23 on a visit, which will last until July 26.