Russia evacuates employees from Iraq, but retains interests in the country

Moscow has evacuated Russian employees from Iraq, but preserved economic interests in the country, Sergei Karaganov, Board Chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, said in a RIA Novosti interview.

"By evacuating Russian employees Russia is not leaving Iraq completely," said Mr. Karaganov. He said Russian companies had had a prominent role in Iraq's economic rebuilding. "However, under the circumstances, we have to save Russian personnel as it is dangerous to stay in the country," said Mr. Karaganov.

Mr. Karaganov said neither Russia, nor the United States, or other countries would be able to benefit from economic cooperation with Iraq within the next few years.

However, Iraqi authorities have assured many of Russian companies, LUKoil among them, that they will resume work under available contracts in the country. "We will regain our economic position in Iraq as soon as the political situation allows us to do that. Russia's position in that country may be stronger than that of other countries," said Mr. Karaganov.

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