Press release by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following talks with Foreign Minister of Iraq Mohamad Ali Alhakim, Baghdad, October 7, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Foreign Minister of Iraq Mohamad Ali Alhakim and all of our Iraqi friends for their hospitality and very intensive and useful talks.
We have a very focused political dialogue. In January I had the pleasure and honour of receiving Mr Mohamad Ali Alhakim in Moscow. It is symbolic that the foreign ministries of our two countries exchanged visits in the year of the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Iraq.
We discussed the prospects for deepening and strengthening cooperation in all areas, including inter-parliamentary dialogue, and we focused on trade and economic cooperation.
Our delegation includes the heads of Gazpromneft, Rosneft, Soyuzneftegaz, Tecknopromexport and the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.
We agree on the need to fulfil the decisions of the regular meeting of the Russian-Iraqi Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation that took place in April 2019 and that concluded contracts on the supply of Russian military goods to Iraq. As we have seen today, everything is on schedule.
Both sides are interested in developing cultural, humanitarian and education contacts. Today, about 3,000 Iraqis study at Russian universities. Over 100 Iraqi diplomats have upgraded their skills through courses at the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy. Next year, this number will increase to 150.
We reviewed specific goals to further deepen cooperation on countering the terrorist threat both via bilateral channels and the Baghdad Information Centre established in 2015 with the participation of experts from Iraq, Russia, Syria and Iran.
We are grateful to our Iraqi friends for the information about the domestic political situation in their country. We are pleased about the completion of the formation of legislative and executive government bodies, as well as the election of government and regional leaders in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region.
Russia is happy to note the trend towards normalisation of relations between Baghdad and Erbil. We hope the outstanding issues will be resolved. This will facilitate socio-economic development and the resolution of other tasks facing the Iraqi state.
We have a common position on Syria. It is necessary to complete the rout of the terrorists groups in that country, which still make inroads into some Syrian areas, create conditions for the return of the refugees and IDPs and launch a productive political process under the established Constitutional Committee. We agreed to continue focusing on these issues of Syrian settlement in the Astana process, which was recently joined by Iraq as an observer.
We have common views on ways of deescalating tensions in the Persian Gulf area. Our Iraqi friends and we believe that it is necessary to do this by pooling the efforts of all players. It is essential to avoid scheming that splits them and blames certain parties in advance.
As regards the conflict between Palestine and Israel, we firmly support the commitment to all UN resolutions that orient the interested parties towards direct talks with a view to reaching agreement on the two-state solution. We consider any attempt to privatise the Palestine-Israeli settlement process counterproductive.
These are the main issues that we discussed today. I would like to thank my colleague once again. I am confident that today’s talks will help take the Russian-Iraqi partnership to new horizons.