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Russia writtes off a greater part of Iraqi debts
Russia has written off a greater part of Iraqi debts and expects Iraq to reciprocate with friendly moves, Mikhail Margelov said to Novosti. He leads the international affairs committee at the Federation Council, the Russian parliament's upper house. "Moscow has always been known for consistent policies toward Baghdad. Those policies aim at Iraqi peace and friendly contacts with Russia reinstated. A recent international conference on Iraq was convened in Egypt's Sharm el Sheikh on Russian initiative. More than that, Russia has agreed to write off 80 per cent of the Iraqi debt. That is only the most spectacular part of many moves Russia is making for closer ties with Iraq," stressed the Senator. Russian-based companies are assisting Iraqi expert training in education, medicine and petroleum industry, he added. "True, Iraq is not in a very good state now-but, all the same, Baghdad ought to do something friendly for Moscow to pay it in kind," remarked Mr. Margelov. He highlighted ambitious Russian economic interests in Iraq. Many Russian-based companies-petroleum and others-are anxious to see contracts made under the previous Iraqi regime implemented, said the Senator. Mr. Ayad Allawi, Iraqi Prime Minister, is arriving in Moscow today on a routine visit. Mr. Margelov expects the event to bring closer the recognition of West Qurna 2 and other contracts, so as to launch their implementation. Russia is certainly to buttress its contacts with Iraq-but not through unilateral concessions alone. What the two countries need is full-fledged and mutually beneficial economic and political partnership, said Mikhail Marghelov.
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