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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iraq: Russia Gets $40Bln In Contracts

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq said Sunday that Russian companies had won deals worth $40 billion to execute scores of future oil and infrastructure projects.

It was not immediately clear if any of the projects could go ahead before the United Nations lifts tough trade sanctions imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Iraqi Trade Minister Mohammed Saleh, quoted by the official Iraqi news agency INA, said Russian companies would carry out 72 projects, mostly in the oil sector, under a long-term protocol.

"Iraq and Russia have agreed on a long-term economic cooperation program under which Russian companies will implement projects worth $40 billion in Iraq," Saleh was quoted as telling a visiting Russian delegation.

He said 17 of the projects were in oil and gas, 15 in industry, 14 in transport and communications, 11 in agriculture and irrigation, six in petrochemicals, six in electricity and three in health. He did not say when work would start.

UN sanctions bar foreign companies from investing in Iraq's oil sector and from selling it equipment outside the framework of an oil-for-food deal with the United Nations. The deal allows Iraq to sell oil to buy food, medicine and humanitarian goods under strict United Nations monitoring.

Iraq has given Russian firms priority in winning business under the oil-for-food deal as a reward for Moscow's rejection of a U.S.-British proposal to revamp the 11-year-old sanctions.