Russian cabinet angry as Iraq severs LUKoil contract

The Russian government is extremely resentful as Iraq is severing a contract with the Moscow-based LUKOIL petroleum company to develop the West Qurna oilfield.

With Baghdad's move, Russia is losing a major incentive to oppose war on Iraq, a prominent governmental officer said to RIA Novosti. National interests are prominent in foreign policies on a par with noble principles - and economic interests are in the forefront now. "Saddam Hussein is not a character appealing enough to back him for his own sake," snapped our interviewee.

The Iraqi decision to sever the contract was announced by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television yesterday, with reference to an Iraqi informant in Moscow.

Signed with several overseas companies in 1997 to develop the huge Iraqi oilfield, the contract amounts to a total of USD 6 billion, of which the LUKOIL accounts for a lion's share, says Al-Jazeera.

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