Beginning of Meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki 2009-04-10 20:02:09 The Kremlin, Moscow President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Prime Minister, I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet you and welcome you here to the Kremlin. I hope that your visit to the Russian Federation will open a new page in Russian-Iraqi relations and will contribute to developing friendly multifaceted and mutually advantageous ties between our countries. We hope that through the meetings and talks you are having today, and the talks you have already had with the Government, we can contribute to developing trade and economic cooperation, discuss various projects, quite big ones, that Russia and Iraq are considering at present, discuss developments in your country of course, and examine the question of restoring your country’s political status in full, in order to continue building up the contacts that we have today. In short, we will review all the different issues of interest to our countries. Russia is ready to make its contribution to developing Iraq today, an Iraq on the road towards democratic development. I wish you welcome. Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki (as translated from Russian): Thank you very much, Mr President. I want to thank you for this opportunity to meet. We see our visit to the friendly Russian Federation as a historic visit. We also consider it important in terms of strengthening our bilateral relations on the basis of common interests and a common desire to see our relations grow. We discussed many different issues at our meeting with the Russian Prime Minister today, issues regarding our cooperation in the energy sector, in economy, science and even in the area of security. This visit was perhaps a little late in coming (you realise, Your Excellency, that extraordinary circumstances in our country were responsible), but we can speak today of real improvement in the situation in Iraq. The government has succeeded in stabilising the situation overall. Now, we are open to and are working in concrete fashion on strengthening and developing relations with all countries that seek to build up their ties with us. You know, Mr President, that Iraq and Russia are bound by very close relations that go back a very long way and have developed in a wide range of fields. As I just said, the situation in our country has stabilised and things have returned to normal. We achieved considerable results in our efforts to build a government of national unity. Today, we are ready to build on our relations with the Russian Federation, and give concrete form to the mutual desire for stronger relations between our countries. In this respect, we heard today the reaffirmation of Russia’s interest in developing these relations. We agreed today that regular contacts and ongoing dialogue between our countries, including at expert level, is needed in order to continue developing our bilateral cooperation. In particular, we agreed in this objective to organise very soon the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission, which is jointly chaired by our country’s minister of foreign affairs, and by the Russian Federation’s minister of energy. We also want to thank you for the Russian Federation’s decision to write off part of Iraq’s debt. We are interested in having Russia and Russian companies present on the Iraqi market and see them take part in various investment projects in our country. Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you.