Russian senator critical about Baghdad's decision to cancel a contract with LUKoil

Iraq's decision to cancel a contract with the Russian LUKoil company places in doubt the Iraqi leadership's numerous statements on the enhancement of cooperation with Russia, Mikhail Margelov, the head of the Federation Council's committee on international affairs, told a RIA Novosti corespondent.

"Several months ago, Iraq announced that it was drafting a package of economic agreements with Russia to the tune of 40 billion dollars," the Senator said. Today, Iraqi officials say that the contract cancellation must not affect bilateral relations. But Iraq should bear in mind that "LUKoil is Russia's largest oil company with the state participating in its capital," Margelov added.

He went on to say that "the state can't overlook the infringement of its interests and the interests of Russian businessmen." The senator stressed that Russia had repeatedly stated its intention to protect its Iraq-related interests and "Iraq's hasty decision did not change its position." He hoped that the case would be settled out of court. The senator believes that the Iraqi oil ministry can remedy the situation by conducting the necessary negotiations with LUKoil representatives.

In Margelov's view, it is rather difficult to assess the situation without taking into account specific circumstances resulted from the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1441. "At a time when Russia is trying hard to maintain peace in the region, the Iraqi oil ministry's decision is out of place and irresponsible." At the same time, he dubbed the conclusions on Russia's changing its position on Iraq as hasty.

"Russia's position is not determined by the situation. The protection of economic interests does not clash with the obligations Russia assumed as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. That's why LUKoil operated in Iraq in full compliance with international sanctions," he said.

Russia as before will push for the stability in the Middle East, including through the consistent implementation of Resolution 1441 and inspectors' mission.

"Iraq should pay great attention to these circumstances while taking other decisions. There must be no gap between what is said about traditional partnership and cooperation and what is really done," the senator emphasised.

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