Iraq's Prime Minister will visit Russia in next few weeks

Baghdad's foreign minister at UNGA said preparations for the trip were under way

Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani begins an official visit to Syria where he will discuss counter-terrorism and trade with President Bashar Al Assad. Photo: Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani will visit Moscow in the next few weeks, according to an Iraqi foreign ministry statement.

Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein made the comments after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday.

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

"The Iraqi side is working on completing necessary preparations for a visit by Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al Sudani to the capital Moscow during the coming weeks," Mr Hussein said.

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

Mr Lavrov, for his part, emphasised his country's keenness to develop the relations with Iraq, saying that he looks forward to Mr 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 Mr 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, Mr Lavrov had said 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.

The US and EU have not yet imposed sanctions on Russia’s oil sector as part of the punitive measures designed to hurt its economy and financial system.

Baghdad is also co-ordinating with Moscow in the fight against ISIS.

In 2014, Iraq, Russia, Iran and Syria set up a security co-ordination committee a few months after the US established an international coalition in the war against the extremist group.

When the UN General Assembly adopted a US-led resolution to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Iraq abstained, along with China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Armenia and 16 African countries.

The resolution was adopted with the support of 141 countries out of 193.

Updated: September 23, 2023, 10:26 AM