A delegation of Russia's lower chamber of parliament, the Duma, arrived here Monday with a message from newly installed Russian President Vladimir Putin to his Iraqi counterpart Saddam Hussein.
In it Putin reasserts "Moscow's determination to get the sanctions lifted" delegation leader, Leonid Slutsky, deputy chairman of the Duma committee on international affairs, told the opening session of an anti-sanctions conference here.
The two-day international conference has been called to discuss the consequences of the sanctions, which were imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
"We shall continue our efforts to develop relations between the Russian and Iraqi people," Slutsky added.
The Russian deputies plan to meet with their Iraqi counterparts, Deputy Premier Tareq Aziz and may also be received by Saddam Hussein, the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency said quoting Duma officials.
Russia, a member of the UN Security Council, has repeatedly called for lifting of sanctions against Iraq and condemned US and British bombing of Iraqi territory during patrols of "no-fly" zones in the north and south of the country.
Both the Duma and the foreign ministry have openly criticized the sanctions saying they have brought the country to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.
Russia has said that it would restore all military cooperation with Iraq as soon as the sanctions are lifted -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
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