Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki left Baghdad on Sunday for an official visit to the Russian Federation. He will hold meetings with a number of officials and to discuss the development of relations, enhance economic and security cooperation and counter terrorism efforts.
The visit will take four days, during which Al-Maliki will hold meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“During the meetings that I’ll hold with senior Russian officials including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, I will focus on ways to activate the Russian role in our region in general and in Iraq specifically”. the Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti quoted Al-Maliki. “I will also focus on ways to strengthen economic cooperation between our country and Russia in the fields of economy, trade, electric power and energy projects, I will also discuss supplying our army with Russian weapons, which our soldiers are trained on and know well.”
On the role of Russia in the Middle East, Al-Maliki said:
“I have confirmed, and I reiterate that if it was not for the Russian position, the entire region would be destroyed and a new and unusual map would be drawn for it, and if it was not for the Russian role that is different from the American role, the regime would fall in Syria, the terrorists would strengthen their positions, the map of the region would be changed, and Baghdad would eventually fall.”
The Iraqi government is currently working to rebuild its relationships with the surrounding countries, and key players like China, Russia and the United States. Iraq is balancing its foreign policy towards all the conflicting parties in the region, with the aim of focusing on reforming its internal problems and combating terrorism.