Putin questions Iraqi elections under occupation
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday he could not imagine how Iraqi elections scheduled for Jan. 30 could be held under current US occupation. "Honestly speaking, I cannot imagine how it is possible to organize elections under the conditions of occupation by foreign forces," Putin said during a Kremlin meeting with interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
"At the same time, I don't understand how you alone can remedy the situation in the country and prevent its disintegration," Putin told Allawi, adding: "I hope we will succeed in examining all these complex and contradictory issues."
According to the AP, Putin added he expected the interests of Russian firms to be considered in Iraqi reconstruction, given that Russia was willing to join in writing off 80 percent of Iraq's debts to the Paris Club of creditor nations.
Russia, he said, had written off more than other countries, some 90 percent of what was owed "out of feelings of solidarity for our friends the Iraqi people."