Influential Russian legislator believes comments on Iraqi decision concerning Russian oil contracts

Russian oil companies, which had signed contracts with Iraq, are the best in their field; therefore one finds it hard to imagine that Iraqi authorities were dissatisfied with their work. This was disclosed by Dmitry Rogozin, chairman of the State Duma's foreign-affairs committee, here December 13. (The State Duma is the Russian Parliament's lower house -- Ed.) Rogozin made this statement, after negotiating with members of the US Senate, House members, as well as the US Administration's representatives.

According to Rogozin, Iraq has apparently made a political decision to annul Russian oil contracts. This is an incorrect decision, Rogozin stressed, adding that Iraq should not be treating the Russian side this way.

Russia is worried about oil-output volumes and stable global oil prices just like any other country, which needs fuel and energy, Rogozin went on to say. In this connection, Russian and US law-makers should work jointly to merge national legislations for the sake of creating a more substantial base for Russian-US energy partnership; this is seen as a highly important aspect of their direct cooperation. Among other things, this dialogue between the State Duma's energy committee and that of the US Congress will be stipulated by a list of proposals, due to be submitted to the Congress already in the near future, Rogozin added.

Rogozin met Senator Carl Levin (Dem.), Senator John McCane (Rep.) and Congressman Christopher Cokes (Rep.), also talking to the US President's National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and US Deputy State Secretary Mark Grossman. All these talks reaffirm the need for expanding direct dialogue between Russian and US legislators, direct contacts between parliamentary committees included, Rogozin stressed.

In this connection, the Russian side plans to include such legislative-cooperation aspects as the abolition of some outdated provisions, such as the Jackson-Vanick amendment, from US legislation (that hamper mutual trade), issues pertaining to the mutual extradition of criminals, as well as cooperation between State Duma and congressional banking committees, and some others, Rogozin said in conclusion.

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