Iraq says PM planning to visit Moscow within weeks

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani is planning to visit Moscow in the next few weeks, the foreign ministry announced on Saturday.

According to the Iraqi diplomatic agency, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said at a meeting with Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday that “the Iraqi side is working to complete the necessary arrangements for a visit by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani to the Russian capital Moscow in the next few weeks”.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed the prospects of joint co-operation and relations between the two countries.

Hussein emphasised that talks between the two sides are an appropriate opportunity to discuss co-operation between the countries in the political and economic fields.

He also added it was possible that a meeting of the joint Iraqi-Russian committee could be held alongside the visit.

Lavrov, for his part, emphasised his country’s keenness to develop the relations with Iraq, saying that he looks forward to Al Sudani’s visit to Moscow in the coming weeks.

Iraq and Russia have had bilateral relations for decades.

Co-operation between Baghdad and Moscow is primarily in the fields of energy, military and security.

Baghdad hosted Lavrov in February, when he led a delegation for representatives of Russian companies.

Both sides had then discussed food security and ways for Baghdad to handle payments to Russia in light of global sanctions imposed on Moscow after Russia attacked Ukraine.

Major Russian oil companies such as Gazprom Neft and Lukoil are among those working in Iraq, mainly in the oil-rich south.

In his visit earlier this year, Lavrov had stated Russian companies had “huge investments in Iraq that have reached $13 billion”.

Iraq is the second-largest producer of crude oil in OPEC after Saudi Arabia.

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