04:46 GMT +324 June 2018
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    RUSSIAN EXPERTS FLEE IRAQ, RUSSIA STAYS ON: FOREIGN MINISTER

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    DUBLIN, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Ministry for Emergency and Calamity Relief starts evacuating compatriot experts from Iraq, tomorrow-which does not mean Russia is leaving that country altogether. The experts will be ready to go back as soon as possible, Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister, stressed to a news conference in Dublin.

    "Our people are ready to return to Iraq any day it is possible, and bring to final success a cause that essentially contributes to its economic rehabilitation.

    "Those people were there as Iraq was getting through a trying part of its history to go on constructing projects, with an emphasis on power industrial services," said the minister.

    As he pointed out, evacuation of Russian and other contract experts employed by Russian-based companies means solely to bring the people into safety. "Those who want to stay on will stay in Iraq. Coercive evacuation is out of the question." Lists of such employees are being drafted now, and they are signing statements on their voluntary stay. "We don't want to be responsible for their safety in an adverse situation," explained Mr. Lavrov.

    Three Russian and five Ukrainian experts of Russia's Interenergoservice Co. were kidnapped in Iraq, Monday last, and unexpectedly released the next day, yesterday.

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