Russian FM Departs for Iraq at Start of Middle East Tour
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov left for Iraq Monday on the first stage of a seven-day official tour of the Middle East and Gulf states, the foreign ministry said.
Ivanov's plane left Moscow for Baghdad at around 11:00 am (0800 GMT), the ministry said.
Ivanov would deliver a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Iraq's Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi news agency INA said.
The Russian foreign minister is due to leave Iraq late Tuesday for Cairo, from where he is expected to fly on to Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
Representing Russia, a co-sponsor of the stalled Middle East peace process, Ivanov is scheduled to hold talks with Israeli leader Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Thursday.
His week-long tour continues late Thursday, when he leaves for Jordan before visiting Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Ivanov will return to Moscow from Riyadh on Sunday evening – MOSCOW (AFP)
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