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Published On: Mon, Jul 24th, 2017

Iraqi VP Al-Maliki on official visit in Russia

nsnbc : Iraqi Vice President and Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has left Baghdad for Moscow Sunday on an official visit to Russia where he is scheduled to meet with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

The then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [L] meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in October, 2012. Maliki negotiated an arms deal that was then put on hold amid a corruption and bribery scandal. Photo: Kremlin

The then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [L] meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in October, 2012. Maliki negotiated an arms deal that was then put on hold amid a corruption and bribery scandal. Photo: Kremlin

The office of Iraqi Vice President Nouri Al-Maliki announced that the Vice President and former Iraqi prime Minister is on an official visit to the Russian Federation. The office stated that he is also accompanied by a “high level delegation” that includes a number of Iraqi members of parliament and advisors.

The announcement stated that he will be meeting several Russian officials. Al-Maliki will reportedly be discussing  “bilateral relations, strengthening the security and economic relations and the fight against terrorism,” with the Russian officials.

Al-Maliki will reportedly hold meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as well as the head of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko on Monday. According to the agenda of the meeting published by the Kremlin, Maliki is to meet with President Putin on Tuesday in St Petersburg.

Al-Maliki previously told reporters that the supply of Russian arms to Iraqi security forces was on the agenda as well. Iraq and Russia have a $4.2 billion outstanding arms deal that was signed by the then PM Maliki on a visit to Moscow in 2012.  The deal was put on hold amid a corruption and bribery scandal involving senior Iraqi defense officials.

However, it is likely that the parties will discuss resuming the deal through which Russia would supply Iraq with 48 Pantsir-S1 short-to-medium-range air defense systems and 28 Mil Mi-28NE strike helicopters.

Although neither the office of Al-Maliki nor Russian officials have made any official statements, nsnbc learned that the upcoming referendum on independent of Iraq’s Kurdistan Autonomous Region and the geopolitical implications of this referendum, as well as Iraqi cooperation with the US and Russia with regard to Syria will be discussed behind closed doors.

CH/L – nsnbc 24.07.2017

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