Russo-Iraqi trade and economic cooperation is on the rise, says Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov. He is attending a session of the international roundtable "Russia-Iraq. Economic Cooperation," underway in Moscow. According to Saltanov, business ties between Russian business circles and Iraqi firms and companies are gradually developing. Iraqi political leadership played a key role here, as it decided to put Russian companies on the priority list of trade and economic cooperation. The Russian diplomat added that the Russian side had provided Iraq with civil items worth a total of 1,300 million dollars, as part of the tenth phase of the oil-for-food program, to be completed soon. In addition, the contracts concluded between Russian companies and their Iraqi partners over the past ten months were $1,850 mln worth, a $600 mln increase year-on-year. Russo-Iraqi cooperation is now experiencing the most intensive development in the energy sector. In this area, Russian and Iraqi companies have struck contracts to the tune of 1 billion dollars. In addition, the sides have concluded major contracts for the construction of hydro-power stations in Iraq. In the total amount of oil that Iraq is allowed to export, Russia's share is 180 million barrels, which makes up one-fourth of Iraq's entire oil exports. Altogether, Iraq accounts for 60 percent of Russia's total cooperation with all Arab states, Saltanov stressed.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated