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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,
Our meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr Nouri al-Maliki, was substantive and constructive.
Some significant changes have have been taking place in Iraq since Mr Maliki’s last visit to Moscow in April 2009 – changes for the better. Iraq’s leadership is doing much for complete national reconciliation and accord, socioeconomic problems resolution and restoring country’s positions in the region and on the international arena.
We sincerely wish our Iraqi friends success in rebuilding and strengthening their state and see the augmentation of our bilateral trade and economic relations and the deepening of our political dialogue as Russia’s input into the advancement of Iraq toward re-establishing its peaceful living.
During today’s detailed talks, we touched on nearly all the issues in our relations. We noted that, regrettably, we are still quite far from the trade level that had been achieved in 2003. At the same time, the growth rates in our relations are a cause for optimism. With every year, more and more Russian companies are participating in Iraq’s economic life.
We are grateful to the Iraqi side for resolving an issue that is highly important to us: ensuring security for our experts in Iraq.
We are seeing the renewel of our military and technical cooperation as well. Iraqi experts are familiar with our weapons, which have a good reputation, and I am certain that we will reach a mutual understanding in this important field, which certainly increases our trade and economic turnover and heightens the trust between our two states.
A session of the intergovernmental commission is scheduled for the end of this year in Baghdad.
We also gave the necessary attention to expanding humanitarian relations. In this regard, I should note that since last year, we have increased the quota of state fellowships for Iraqi students in Russian universities to 150. It is pleasing that the Russian Language Chair at the University of Baghdad has never suspended its work for even a single day.
We exchanged views on current international issues and regional problems as well. It is gratifying to note that we hold coinciding or very close views on very many positions.
”The growth rates in our relations are a cause for optimism. With every year, more and more Russian companies are participating in Iraq’s economic life. We are grateful to the Iraqi side for resolving an issue that is highly important to us: ensuring security for our experts in Iraq.“
In conclusion, I would like to express my certainty that this visit by Mr Prime Minister and his entire team will serve the further development of multidimensional cooperation between Russia and Iraq.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki (retranslated): Thank you very much, your Excellency.
I would like to begin by expressing my sincere gratitude for your invitation to visit Russia, a friendly nation that shares our desire to strengthen our bilateral relations. Both myself and all the members of our delegation felt welcome and sensed a very serious, thoughtful approach to discussing and examining the most pressing issues that are of mutual interest to us.
All our rounds of talks with the Russian Government and the President of the Russian Federation fully reflected the desire and readiness of both sides to move forward toward increasing our full range of bilateral cooperation.
It has already been stated here that I visited Russia in 2009 at the President’s invitation. At the time, our country was just emerging from a period of religious and civil war, and we were entering a phase of reconstructing our national economy, normalising live in Iraq. At the time, we were already seriously considering prospects for developing cooperation with your country.
Today, we are pleased to remark on the significant progress that has been made in various areas – first and foremost, in areas of great importance to both sides such as oil, gas, investment cooperation, construction, transport, political processes, and bringing Iraqi positions closer to those of other countries in the region.
During our talks, we had an in-depth discussion of the main areas for potential interaction and cooperation with the Russian Federation and agreed to develop our own sort of “road map” for progressing in all these areas, with priority attention given to such sectors as oil, gas, investments, electric energy, transport, construction, trade, security, military and technical cooperation, the exchange of opinions at a political level and so on.
Based on these common approaches and attitudes geared toward promoting our relations, we also share your point of view that today’s bilateral trade is absolutely unacceptable. We must do everything possible from both sides to restore the high figures that we had achieved in the past.
We also found common ground on some very sensitive and important issues that affect the fate of the region and the entire world, and came to the conclusion that our positions truly are very similar and even concurrent when it comes to the need to ensure reliable security and stability in this region. Besides, we reached common conclusion that it is imperative to do everything possible to promote the free, democratic development of the peoples in this region, using peaceful means and doing everything in our power to not allow provocation, to avoid external meddling in the region’s affairs, and to prevent various scenarios involving military solutions.
Furthermore, we agreed to avoid these types of scenarios when it comes to settling the Syrian crisis, without any kind of foreign meddling, and to support the mission of the new UN Secretary General and League of Arab States’ special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi. We will do everything we can to ensure the success of his mission, which should result in seeking and finding a peaceful solution to the domestic Syrian crisis that will fully satisfy entire Syrian people.
I also thank the Russian leadership, Mr President and the Russian Government for their readiness to provide assistance to Iraq in lifting the mandate of Article 7, since our country has fully fulfilled its obligations. I repeat again that we are deeply grateful to the Russian side and hope that we will be able to resolve all the remaining issues that require implementation by the Iraqi side, now outside the framework of Article 7.
In the context of what was already said regarding the need to move forward in key areas of mutual interest, we agreed to intensify our efforts in trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation through the intergovernmental commission. We will give corresponding instructions to the ministers overseeing these matters so that we can take concrete actions to implement the general ideas and intentions of our countries and our peoples to advance in developing the full range of bilateral cooperation.
Thank you very much once again.