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    RUSSIA'S INVOLVEMENT IN IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION IS MATTER OF POLITICS, RUSSIAN ANALYST SAYS

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    MOSCOW, JANUARY 13 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Russia's involvement in the rebuilding of post-Saddam Iraq is a political as well as economic matter, Sergei Oznobishchev, Director of the Institute of Strategic Analysis, said in a RIA interview Tuesday.

    The expert believes that whether or not Russian petroleum companies, notably LUKoil, will be involved in the development of Iraqi oil fields, depends on decisions to be made at the high political level and also on the scheme of their passing through "the U.S. bureaucratic machine." Touching upon the problem of world oil prices, Oznobishchev said that their fluctuation involved a lot of factors related to the political situation in the Gulf. "The oil prices, as well as the dollar rate, do not obey economic laws of direct action. In this situation, everything will depend on how stable the situation around Iraq's oil wells will be," he explained.

    Late last December, LUKoil President Vagit Alekperov met for talks with Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, head of Iraq's interim Governing Council, over the possibility of resuming the contract for the development of a Western Qurna deposit.

    LUKoil top management say those talks marked the beginning of the company's work in the post-war Iraq.

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