In 2019, Russia and Iraq will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. In honour of this date, as well as in anticipation of the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Iraq, the Valdai Discussion Club hosted a meeting with Haidar Mansour Hadi, Iraqi Ambassador to the Russian Federation.
Andrei Suchentsov, programme director of the Valdai Discussion Club, who moderated of the meeting, noted in his opening remarks that Iraq is at the epicentre of processes which will determine the fate of the most turbulent region in the world, making a first-hand assessment of the situation all the more valuable.
In his speech, the guest of the Valdai Club presented how Iraq sees the web of relationships which define international conflict and diplomacy in the Middle East, as well as its place in the region and relations with Russia. The ambassador emphasised that over the past 75 years of official ties, Russia and Iraq have managed to sign more than 40 agreements and memoranda of understanding, and that the Iraqi side seeks to continue and expand this cooperation, concluding new agreements in such areas as energy, defence and education. “A good indicator of the development of relations is the Russian-Iraqi commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation, which is held in Moscow and Baghdad,” the ambassador said. “Politically, the dialogue between the two countries is based on mutual assistance and complete respect.”
As for Iraq’s foreign policy as a whole, the ambassador particularly emphasised its focus on good relations with the country’s neighbours in the region. “The stabilisation of the region also means the stabilisation of Iraq,” he said. Therefore, the country was very concerned about the recent attacks on Saudi Aramco, which Iran is now accused of. “Iraq wants to be a force that stabilises the region. Iraq is located between Iran and Saudi Arabia and on friendly terms with both countries - therefore, it is important that it would also be a stabilising link."
As the moderator of the discussion noted at the end of the meeting, Russia and Iraq not only value many problems in the Middle East equally, but also work together to solve them, which creates the most favourable prospect for the development of bilateral relations.