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Iraq PM wants to attract Russian businesses


MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) - Iraq is seeking to expand the presence of Russian companies on its market, the premier of the oil-rich country said at a meeting on Friday with his Russian counterpart. "Russian companies possess rich experience in cooperation with Iraqi partners. They are already active [in Iraq], but we are interested in expanding their presence," Nouri al-Maliki told Vladimir Putin.

The two premiers discussed bilateral trade, energy and security cooperation, as well as research contacts.

Putin pledged to send a Russian government delegation to visit Iraq in the near future to continue negotiations with al-Maliki and praised Iraq's "positive efforts" to stabilize the domestic situation.

"Such progress boosts confidence in Iraq as a promising international partner," the Russian premier said.

At a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev later on Friday, al-Maliki confirmed that his country was open for cooperation with Russia and Russian companies.

"We are seeking to attract Russian companies to the Iraqi market and involve them in various projects," the Iraqi official said.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, who attended the talks with the Iraqi premier, said two Russian companies, Technopromexport and Stroytransgaz, could join projects in Iraq. Technopromexport is a Russian leader in the field of power construction projects and electricity exports. Stroytransgaz is an engineering-construction company providing a wide range of project services. "We have received a number of tempting offers to attract Russian companies in developing power engineering and infrastructure in Iraq. Technopromexport and Stroytransgaz could take part in the projects," Shmatko said.

He said a Russian-Iraqi working group would meet shortly to discuss reactivating oil contracts signed with Russian firms under the Saddam Hussein regime.

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