Iraq praised Russia on Monday, July 16, for opposing the US-backed British "smart sanctions" proposal and expressed its desire to boost bilateral cooperation.
Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz told Russian emissary Nikolai Kartuzov of "Baghdad's desire to boost cooperation with Russia ... (which) lined up on the side of justice" against the proposal to revamp the sanctions regime.
Kartuzov delivered Aziz, also Iraq's acting foreign minister, a message from Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov focusing on the UN deliberations over the draft resolution for a retooled embargo.
On July 4, the UN Security Council extended the oil-for-food deal for five months after shelving plans to impose the revised sanctions due to Russian opposition.
Iraq said Sunday it will give priority to Russia, among others, in import contracts under the UN oil-for-food program for its support at the United Nations.
Iraq has been under embargo since it invaded Kuwait in 1990 but has been authorized since December 1996 to export oil under UN supervision to finance imports of essential goods for its 22-million population. ― (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )