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    In this Wednesday, March 22, 2017 photograph, sailors prepare to launch an F-18 off of the USS George H.W. Bush as it travels through the Persian Gulf.

    Russia Urges Escalation End in Persian Gulf, Negotiations - Deputy UN Envoy

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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The escalation in the Persian Gulf region should immediately be halted and negotiations launched, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov said during a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Iraq.

    "The escalation in the Persian Gulf should be stopped immediately, and confrontation should be replaced by dialogue and negotiations", Safronkov said on Tuesday.

    Safronkov explained that Iraq’s stability is of great importance to the Middle East and any attempts to involve the country in an artificially-created confrontation with Iran would be counterproductive and have adverse effects on both Iraq and the region.

    READ MORE: US FAA Cautions Airliners Flying Over Persian Gulf Amid Tensions in Region

    "We welcome the consistent policy of Baghdad in maintaining good neighbourly relations with all regional partners, including Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia", Safronkov said.

    On Sunday, a rocket reportedly hit Baghdad’s Green Zone, an area where government buildings and foreign diplomatic missions are located and landed near the US Embassy.

    The United States has bolstered its military forces in the Middle East in what US National Security Adviser John Bolton has called a clear and unmistakable message to Iran. The new US deployments in the region include an aircraft carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, B-52 bombers and F-15 fighters, according to the Pentagon.

    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Iran does not intend to wage war with the United States, but will continue to resist Washington.

    US-Iranian tensions first flared up last year when the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and started reinstating sanctions. On 8 May, Iran announced its decision to partially discontinue its obligations under the nuclear agreement.

    Russia, Iraq to Develop Trade, Economic Cooperation

    Russia will continue to increase the development of trade and economic cooperation with Iraq, Safronkov said during the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Iraq.

    "At the end of April this year, another meeting was held in Bagdad, of the Russian-Iraqi intergovernmental commission on trade, economic and scientific cooperation; we will continue further developing that cooperation", Safronkov said Tuesday.

    Safronkov pointed out that Russia and Iraq have already expanded mutually beneficial trade, including in the fuel and energy industries.

    READ MORE: Iraq Yet to Make Decision on Purchase of S-400 From Russia — Ambassador

    In April, the Russian-Iraqi Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation held its eighth meeting in Baghdad. Representatives of the two countries discussed using national currencies for bilateral trade, while Iraq proposed that Russia open an economic department in the Russian embassy in Baghdad.

    Earlier in May, Iraqi Ambassador to Russia Haidar Hadi said the Iraqi government has decided to buy Russian S-400 air defence systems, but the exact date of the purchase is yet to be defined.

    In late 2017, Iraq declared victory over the Daesh terror group and has been calling on the international community to help it restore areas affected by the war.

    READ MORE: US Not Likely to Accept Russia's Help in Liberating Iraq From Daesh — Ambassador

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia and many other countries.


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