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    LUKOIL PRESIDENT TO CONDUCT NEGOTIATIONS IN BAGHDAD WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF IRAQI OIL MINISTRY

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    MOSCOW, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - On Wednesday President of the LUKOIL company Vagit Alekperov intends to have a number of meetings with representatives of the Iraqi Oil Ministry to discuss with them plans for cooperation, the company's spokesman said.

    As the newspaper Al-Iqtisadiyah reported earlier, the aim of Alekperov's visit to Baghdad is "to enliven the contract for developing the West Qurna-2 oil deposit, which was annulled in the last few months of Hussein's rule.

    Mr. Alekperov believes that the contract worth of $3.7 billion is still in force, though the present Iraqi leadership has not yet decided whether to recognise it or not and on what conditions.

    "Our contract is in force, and we hope to reach mutual understanding on the date of its fulfillment," Al-Iqtisadiyah quotes Alekperov as saying.

    The contract for the development of the West Qurna-2 deposit was signed by the Russian company in the middle of the 1990s. However, at the beginning of 2003 Baghdad said that it annulled it because the LUKOIL was not fulfilling its commitments.

    In their turn, representatives of the Russian company asserted that they could not fulfil it because of the United Nations' economic sanctions against Iraq that existed at that time.

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