Russo-Iraqi commission meets in constructive atmosphere

Mar 20, 2002 01:00 AM

Iraqi Petroleum Minister Amer Rashid said the results of the fourth meeting of the Russo-Iraqi inter-governmental commission for commercial, economic, scientific and technical cooperation were "useful and constructive". "We have been working in a friendly and businesslike atmosphere," Amer Rashid said before taking a plane from the Russian capital. He said, "There exists complete understanding on all questions between Moscow and Baghdad".
Amer Rashid stressed particularly "Iraq has a political will to develop relations with Russia". He said that the commission's meeting outlined and endorsed long-term prospects of the broadening of ties of the two countries. The minister commended the work of experts who coordinated a number of major joint projects, above all in the oil-and-gas area.

The minister said an arrangement was reached at the Moscow session to sign a programme of long-term economic cooperation between Russia and Iraq in April 2002 in Baghdad. The programme includes 67 projects in the area of oil, gas, transport and communications.
Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov said the signing of such a programme "will show to the whole world the inclination of Moscow and Baghdad to cooperate on a long- term basis". Experts say the Iraqi oil market is highly promising. As many as 73 oil wells now exist in the Iraqi territory. Twenty-nine of them are operating and 49 need to be further developed. Amer Rashid said the Iraqi side is extremely interested in Russian experts participating in their development.

During the visit to Moscow the Iraqi guest also had a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov who said that Russia "is interested in keeping up the pace of the development commercial and economic relations with Iraq".
The sides discussed in detail the projects for whose implementation it is yet necessary to override the veto of the United Nations Committee on sanctions. Yuri Shafranik, president of the Committee of international scientific, cultural and business cooperationwith Iraq, believes this refers to the need to unfreeze Russian contracts to a sum of around $ 850 mm. The fifth meeting of the inter-governmental commission is scheduled for October.

Source: Itar-Tass
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