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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iraq Premier To Visit Moscow

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will make an official three-day visit to Russia starting Thursday and is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday, the Cabinet's press service said Wednesday.

On the agenda will be trade and economic ties, including a return of Russian companies to Iraq, and cooperation in the energy, electricity and construction sectors, the government said on its web site. They will also discuss political questions, including the internal situation in Iraq and chances for bilateral cooperation on regional issues.

Earlier this month, Moscow agreed to supply Baghdad with 22 Mi-17 helicopters, and Iraq included Rosneft and Tatneft among nine oil firms that will be able to bid in a second round of auctions for oil-development rights there.

LUKoil participated in an earlier round of bidding and has expressed interest in two major fields -- West Qurna and Rumaila. The company has lobbied Iraqi officials to revive a $4 billion deal for West Qurna that it signed in 1997.

In February 2008, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin announced that Russia would forgive $12 billion of Iraq's debt, a move widely seen as intended to help Russian companies regain a foothold in Iraq, which has the world's third-largest oil reserves.