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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Downplays Pact

MOSCOW () -- Russia acknowledged Monday that it had signed a post-sanctions trade accord with Iraq but denied it that it involved an immediate start to deals worth $10 billion as reported in Baghdad.

Official newspapers in Iraq, which is still under United Nations trade sanctions, said on Saturday that the two nations sealed a pact on trade and industrial and oil projects in Iraq by Russian firms.

The Iraqi press quoted Russian Foreign Economic Relations Minister Oleg Davydov as saying Moscow would start implementing the deal immediately.

Top Russian officials denied this Monday. "All we signed last Friday was a protocol saying that our countries are in the process of considering possible deals once the United Nations Security Council decides to lift sanctions against Baghdad," said Alexander Kalugin, head of the Foreign Ministry's Iraq and Jordan department.