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    ACTING FOREIGN MINISTER OF RUSSIA CONFIRMS RUSSIA'S READINESS TO SETTLE THE IRAQI DEBT WITHIN THE PARIS CLUB

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    MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti). Acting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has confirmed Russia's readiness to tackle the problem of Iraqi debts in the Paris Club. "We are ready to tacikle the problem in the framework of the Paris Club," Ivanov said in an interview with the inter-Arab television channel Al-Arabiya. "As for conditions, they are an issue for discussion at separate talks, which have not begun yet."

    Replying to a question about Russia-Iraq relations, the minister said: "We have never withdrew from Iraq. ...The Russian Embassy was one of the few that kept working in Baghdad, including during the war. There were, and still are, our specialists there. Russia and Iraq have long-standing relations. Many new and large economic facilities vital for the country's development have been built in Iraq with Russia's assistance. We intend to continue working with Iraq. We have not had and do not have any problems with the Iraqi people and intend to keep up good relations with them."

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