Russian FM in Iraq for talks with Iraqi leaders

08:25, May 11, 2011      

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Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari (R) and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hold a joint news conference in Baghdad May 10, 2011. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Tuesday arrived in Iraqi capital Baghdad on a two-day visit to hold talks with Iraqi leaders over bilateral ties and promotion of cooperation between the two countries.

"The Russian government is willing to discuss cooperation with Iraq, particularly, over arms supplies which we consider a substantial factor to maintain Iraq's sovereignty and its integrity," Lavrov said during a joint news conference after meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar al-Zebari.

Lavrov said that his country has been supporting Iraq in its efforts of fighting terrorism.

He said he is to hand over a letter from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki during a meeting scheduled later in the day, without giving details about the letter.

For his part, Zebari said the two sides agreed to activate a joint ministerial committee which has previously held three meetings in Russia, saying "we wish the next meeting to be held in Baghdad."

The head of the Russian diplomacy will also meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and other political leaders and top officials, Zebari said.

Lavrov, is the first top Russian officials to visit Iraq since the topple of former President Saddam Hussein by a U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Source: Xinhua

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