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    GOVERNMENT CANNOT FORCE RUSSIAN SPECIALISTS LEAVE IRAQ

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    MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government cannot force the company Interenergoservice wind up work in Iraq, Russian acting industry and energy minister Victor Khristenko has said.

    "Nobody can forcibly end the contract", he said.

    Russia's authorities can only issue recommendations to compatriots doing work in Iraq, Khristenko noted.

    "It is the responsibility assumed by employer and he who signs the contract", Victor Khristenko said.

    By now, 120 employees of Interenergoservice working in Iraq have voiced the desire to go, director for international projects Yevgeni Loginov has said on Thursday.

    Earlier, he said that a decision on full or partial evacuation of the company's employees from Iraq "will depend on the government". And added: "Although we are a commercial organisation, the Foreign Ministry can issue us recommendations, even insistent. In any case, we make the final decision. The position of our company is: we will heed the ministerial opinion but would like to continue work in Iraq".

    The Interenergoservice mission in Iraq has 340 employees.

    On May 10 the company's employees in Baghdad were attacked: one Russian was killed, two taken hostage. Interenergoservice is doing rehabilitation work at the Baghdad power station.

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