ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Monday said that Baghdad wants to expand cooperation in areas of oil and energy with Russia during a meeting with the country’s Middle East envoy.
Abdul-Mahdi made the remarks during a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, who is also President Vladimir Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa.
Bogdanov arrived in Baghdad on Sunday evening. It is not clear whether he will be visiting the Kurdistan Region.
Iraq is keen on expanding economic ties and developing investments and cooperation in the oil and gas fields, Abdul-Mahdi stressed during his meeting with the Russian diplomat, according to a statement from the premier’s office.
The statement added that Abdul-Mahdi “praised” Russia’s “balanced” presence that lends itself to improving the “security and stability of the region.”
Moscow and Baghdad continue to strengthen bilateral ties, namely in the energy sector, in which the two nations have multiple joint projects. Russian-state owned and private energy firms alike, such as Gazprom, Rosneft, and Lukoil, are heavily engaged with Baghdad to invest in the country.
Such companies are also cooperating with the autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, namely Rosneft.
Gazprom, Russia’s third-largest oil producer, first began operating in Iraq in 2010, in the southern province of Wasit. In the summer of 2012, the company entered into two other projects, this time in the autonomous region in the north.
Editing by Nadia Riva