Beginning of the Meeting with the President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani 2005-09-14 19:45:00 New York Vladimir Putin: Mr President, allow me to greet you warmly. I know that your county's present situation is a very difficult one. All of us are fully aware of this. Literally today we received additional information on the tragedy that took place. First of all, allow me to express my condolences to you, the Iraqi leadership, and Iraqi society as a whole. I know that, together with the Iraqi leadership, you are taking all the necessary measures to provide security and favour a political settlement. Russia and Iraq have always been connected by a bond of friendship. We intend to further develop relations between our countries on all levels, including political and economic ones. As you know, our experts are now returning to Iraq to continue their work in various fields in which we cooperate. Certainly, it would be very interesting for me to hear your opinion on the process' development, the next steps the leadership of Iraq intends to take, and how Russia can be of help in the process of stabilising the situation in Iraq. Jalal Talabani: Many thanks, Mr President. We highly value your assessment of the situation. We share your conviction that it is necessary to expand relations between the Russian Federation and Iraq as much as possible. The people of Iraq well know that Russia, and the Soviet Union in its time, gave a great deal of support to our country. Therefore, by expressing our gratitude for this help, we hope that our relations—both the traditional ones, and those in newer areas—will be expanded. I will inform you of both the positive and negative aspects of what is now occurring in Iraq. All of this is in the interest of strengthening our bilateral relations. We have no doubt that under your leadership, Russia will greatly contribute to strengthening our bilateral relations and support the people of Iraq in the struggle against terrorism. We are united by common aims and common enemies. We believe that all the necessary bases for the development of bilateral political, trade and economic, cultural, and other relations exist between our traditionally friendly countries. On our side, we highly value the return of Russian experts to our country. We would very much want the largest possible number of Russian companies to return to Iraq. The leadership of Iraq and I myself will personally render comprehensive support to this process. Many thanks for this reception.