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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ivanov and Iraq's Aziz Speak About Sanctions

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz met Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov Wednesday for talks on ending a decade of U.N. sanctions against his country.

At the start of their meeting Ivanov said discussions would focus on "U.N. resolutions on lifting the blockade and sanctions" against Iraq, Interfax reported.

Aziz arrived in Moscow late Monday from Beijing, where he won Chinese support for the end of sanctions.

Russia, a traditional ally of the Gulf state and a permanent U.N. Security Council member, says the oil and trade embargo has inflicted untold suffering on millions of ordinary Iraqis.

But in return for their suspension, Moscow wants Baghdad to allow U.N. inspectors to return and complete checks on whether Iraq has disposed of its banned weapons of mass destruction.

The United Nations imposed the sanctions in 1990 following Iraq's invasion of neighbouring Gulf oil state Kuwait.

Iraqi diplomats in Moscow cited by Itar-Tass said Aziz could hand over a personal message to Russian President Vladimir Putin from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Ivanov, who travelled to Baghdad earlier this month, said he would also raise the issue of Russian-Iraqi cooperation, both in the current U.N. humanitarian programme for Iraq and in the future, after sanctions are lifted.

Russia is one of several countries to have sent aircraft to Baghdad carrying what officials say are humanitarian cargoes to help ordinary Iraqis suffering under the sanctions.

Moscow is also keen to secure an important role for Russian oil companies in developing Iraq's oil industry once U.N. sanctions are lifted.

Earlier this month Ivanov wrote to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan complaining that the trade restrictions on Iraq had cost Russia $30 billion dollars.