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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Set to Debate Iraqi Deals

Russia doesn't intend to contribute funds to rebuilding Iraq, but hopes to win international donors' support for the contracts its companies signed with Saddam Hussein's regime, a senior diplomat said Tuesday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov, Russia's diplomatic point man on Iraq, said that Moscow believes that the contracts, which were part of the United Nations' oil-for-food program, should be endorsed as part of the international rebuilding effort at this week's donor conference in Madrid.

"We don't see conditions for Russia to make donor contributions to rebuilding Iraq," Fedotov, who will represent Russia at the conference, told Interfax.

At the same time, Fedotov added, Russian companies are willing to invest "several billion dollars" in Iraq's reconstruction.

"Such investment projects could be very useful and they must be considered as a real and substantial contribution of Russia to rebuilding Iraq," Fedotov said.

Fedotov said that 75 percent of contracts signed by Russian companies with Hussein's regime had already won preliminary approval. He voiced hope that other contracts for building power plants, water purification facilities and other key elements of infrastructure should be endorsed, as well.

Such contracts could be financed either from the existing Iraq Development Fund or a new Iraq rebuilding fund to be set up at the Madrid conference, Fedotov said.

Russia has opposed the U.S. war in Iraq, but after its end moved to repair ties with the United States and last week backed a U.S.-drafted United Nations resolution aimed at attracting more troops and money to stabilize Iraq.