Telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki 2012-02-22 18:30:00 Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki. The main subject of discussion was the situation in the Middle East, in particular in Syria, with the emphasis on not allowing outside intervention in Syria’s affairs and the need to end the bloodshed as soon as possible and launch a comprehensive dialogue in the country itself between all sides in the conflict. Both leaders stressed that political and diplomatic efforts to stabilise the situation in Syria are the only option and noted the counterproductive impact of economic sanctions against Syria, which only aggravate the Syrian people’s social and economic problems. Mr Medvedev and Mr al-Maliki stressed the importance of continued coordination through bilateral and multilateral contacts in order to guarantee regional peace and security. The two leaders also looked at efforts to build up Russian-Iraqi cooperation in various areas, and, in particular, noted the need to expand trade and economic ties and step up the work of the Intergovernmental Russian-Iraqi Commission on Trade, Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation.