The Russo-Iraqi intergovernmental commission on economic, scientific and technological cooperation will gather in Baghdad in late January of 2002, Ivan Maklashov, first deputy energy minister of Russia, said Monday. The official added that Russian companies were interested in the second phase of developing the oil deposit of Zapadnaya Kura and in laying the Iraqi-Syrian oil pipeline. Maklashov recalled that during the visit by Iraqi Vice President Ramadan Taha Yasin, the sides had reached an agreement on Russian companies' non-tender participation in bilateral economic cooperation projects. Maklashov said that Iraq had delivered 870 million barrels of oil to Russia as part of the oil-for-food program. At the same time, he noted, the aforesaid program hampers the implementation of other mutually advantageous bilateral contracts, such as the construction of power facilities and laying oil and gas pipelines. Maklashov took part Monday in an international roundtable, "Russia-Iraq. Economic Cooperation," held in Moscow.
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