Gaidar describes Russia's possible involvement in Iraq's reconstruction as promising

Russia has good prospects to get involved in the effort to reconstruct Iraq's economy, Yegor Gaidar, Director of the Institute of the Transitional Economy, opined at a news conference in Moscow Tuesday.

"Russia has a rather firm position /in Iraq/, since the greater part of Iraq's infrastructure is adapted for Russian-made equipment. Iraq is a major player on the world oil market, and cooperation with that country is very important for Russia," said Mr Gaidar.

He had been invited to take part in an international conference on Iraq's economic reconstruction in Baghdad as an expert. The problems facing Iraqis today are similar to the problems of a post-Soviet Russia, Mr Gaidar said on returning from Baghdad. Oil exports, for one, make up the core of both countries' economies.

"Iraq will boost oil production as early as next year, Mr Gaidar said, adding that the Iraqi economy would recover quicker that that had been the case with Russia thanks to oil exports.

When asked about his impressions of Baghdad, Mr Gaidar noted rather insignificant damages to the city.

"The infrastructure - the power and water supplies - was damaged the most severely," said Mr Gaidar.

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