Iraq's Deputy PM Begins Four-Day Visit to Moscow
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz arrived in Moscow Tuesday on a four-day visit for talks which diplomats said would focus on the easing of UN sanctions against his country.
Interfax reported that Aziz would visit the State Duma lower house of parliament Tuesday evening.
He is to hold talks with President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
Aziz will also meet with Security Council secretary Sergei Ivanov as well as Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov.
His visit comes shortly after Duma deputy Vladimir Zhirinovsky announced that Putin was preparing a possible visit to Iraq later this year.
Alexei Mitrofanov, a senior figure in Zhirinovsky's LDPR party which has close ties with President Saddam Hussein, said Putin would discuss the idea with Aziz during his stay.
Russia, as one of the five major powers in the UN Security Council, strongly supports lifting sanctions, which have been in force against Baghdad since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Since 1996, Russia had bought some 663 million tons of petrol from Iraq, a third of Iraqi exports, clinching contracts worth two billion dollars for humanitarian supplies – MOSCOW (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)