By John Lee.
Presidents Maliki and Putin have issued the following statement after their meeting in Moskow:
PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,
Our meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr Nouri al-Maliki, was substantive and constructive.
Some significant changes have have been taking place in Iraq since Mr Maliki’s last visit to Moscow in April 2009 – changes for the better. Iraq’s leadership is doing much for complete national reconciliation and accord, socioeconomic problems resolution and restoring country’s positions in the region and on the international arena.
We sincerely wish our Iraqi friends success in rebuilding and strengthening their state and see the augmentation of our bilateral trade and economic relations and the deepening of our political dialogue as Russia’s input into the advancement of Iraq toward re-establishing its peaceful living.
During today’s detailed talks, we touched on nearly all the issues in our relations. We noted that, regrettably, we are still quite far from the trade level that had been achieved in 2003. At the same time, the growth rates in our relations are a cause for optimism. With every year, more and more Russian companies are participating in Iraq’s economic life.
We are grateful to the Iraqi side for resolving an issue that is highly important to us: ensuring security for our experts in Iraq.
We are seeing the renewel of our military and technical cooperation as well. Iraqi experts are familiar with our weapons, which have a good reputation, and I am certain that we will reach a mutual understanding in this important field, which certainly increases our trade and economic turnover and heightens the trust between our two states.