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With the continuous fight against Islamic State a lot of attention is paid to Syria and Iraq as well as Russia’s involvement in the process. Haidar Hadi, the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Russia, comments on the ways Islamic State should be fought, Russia-Iraq cooperation in the energy sector as well as the areas in bilateral relations that need to be worked on.

With the continuous fight against Islamic State a lot of attention is paid to Syria and Iraq as well as Russia’s involvement in the process. Haidar Hadi, the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Russia, comments on the ways Islamic State should be fought, Russia-Iraq cooperation in the energy sector as well as the areas in bilateral relations that need to be worked on.

What are the main results of Russia-Iraq cooperation in military-technical sphere?

The cooperation between Russia and Iraq is very strong in all spheres and in military as well. I think the biggest result of Russia-Iraq cooperation is winning the war against Islamic State, as we have fully liberated Mosul, Tel Afar and most of Iraq’s territories. We have very little left and we will be able to clear these territories up in a very short time. Russian military equipment including “Sukhoi” has played a very important role in the war against ISIS. Also, the information center in Baghdad which consists of Iraq, Russia, Iran, and Syria, provides the intelligence data to the military in Iraq. We believe that Russia’s support has been of great help to Iraq.

Speaking of ISIS, how long do you think it will take to overcome this threat globally?

I think military-wise the war against ISIS has come to an end in Iraq and in Syria. The most important part is to win the war against ideology of ISIS as it is very extreme. This is not just Syria’s or Iraq’s job, but of the rest of the world as well.

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How can this ideology be fought?

It can be fought by introducing new programs, by countries working together, by exchanging information about terrorist cells, about sleeping cells. We also need to involve educational tools – the children who are growing up now need to know what ISIS is, what is has done to Iraq, Syria and other countries. Even Russia got affected by ISIS. We have seen the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Russia, in Europe, in the rest of the world. ISIS is an international threat – not just a threat to Iraq or Syria. I think we should work together to fight the ideology of ISIS and I think this is the only way to defeat terrorism. Vast programs should be introduced in order to defeat this ideology.

How do you assess the results of cooperation in energy sphere? What needs to be done to bring them to the next level?

Energy-wise the cooperation between Russia and Iraq has been great. Three big Russian companies are operating in Iraq and have been doing really well so far. The recent visit of Dr. Al-Luaibi, Iraq’s Oil Minister to Moscow two weeks ago was very successful, he met with Minister of Energy and big companies’ representatives. Still, there is more to be done in terms of cooperation. There is a big interest on behalf of Russian companies in Iraq’s market. As an embassy, we try to facilitate the cooperation and serve as a link between the Russian and Iraqi sides. This sphere has a great potential.

What aspect of Russia-Iraq bilateral relations needs more attention and efforts?

The area we need to work on more is tourism. We have great cooperation in the military sphere and in education: over 5, 000 Iraqi students are studying in Russia. We also need to strengthen the ties on the private sector level, stimulating business trips. Being an Ambassador, I am not satisfied with the level of economic cooperation between Iraq and Russia. One of the biggest steps in this sense is reopening of Iraqi Airways’ direct flights between Baghdad and Moscow. We have just witnessed the arrival of Iraqi Airways in Moscow and now the door for Russian businessmen is wide open. We have close contact within Iraq-Russia Business Council that is trying to bring the two sides together. Economic segment of the cooperation is the one we are lacking in.

Interviewed by Maria Smekalova, RIAC Website Editor


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