11:05 GMT +327 May 2018
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    An aerial view of Tahrir Square in downtown Baghdad, Iraq

    Baghdad Would Like to See Russian Military and Political Presence in the Country

    © AP Photo / Hadi Mizban
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    Iraqi vice-president said Monday that Baghdad would like to see serious Russian military and political presence in the country.

    "It is known that Russia has historically strong relations with Iraq. So, we would like Russia to have a substantial presence in our country, politically and militarily. This way, a balance would be established that would benefit the region, its peoples and its countries," Maliki said following talks with Speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament Valentina Matvienko in Moscow.

    Moreover, Iraq believes that Russia has enough capabilities to ensure the security and balance of power in the world, particularly in the Middle East, Iraqi Vice President Nouri Maliki said.

    "We want to strengthen and develop these relations, because we believe in Russia's role in solving a big number of international problems, as well as in strengthening security and the balance of power in our region and around the world… Russia has great opportunities and capabilities in many areas, in science, industry, economy and the defense industry area," Maliki said at the start of his talks with Russian upper house speaker Valentina Matvienko.

    Maliki drew attention to the many agreements in different areas signed by Russia and Iraq, saying that this number will continue to grow because a meeting of a joint inter-government commission, which is in charge of bilateral cooperation, will take place "in the near future."

    "This is our fundamental decision to continue strengthening the already strong relations with your country. Now the time has come to confide more to Russia in the light of the successes we have achieved in the field of combating terrorism and terrorist organizations," the vice president said.

    Along with other areas of cooperation, Baghdad hopes to develop relations with Moscow within the inter-parliamentary track, as Iraq is close to creating a new parliamentary chamber similar to Russia's Federation Council.

    On Sunday, Maliki arrived in Russia for a four-day visit. The vice president has already held a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and is expected to be hosted by President Vladimir Putin.

    military presence, bilateral relations, Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq, Russia
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