Code: 820422 A

A top Iraqi official said that the Russian Foreign Minister visited Iraq to discuss the political situation in the region as well as strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Ahmed Al-Sahhaf said to ILNA news agency in an exclusive interview that Sergei Lavrov, accompanied by a delegation including representatives of major Russian energy companies and high-profile diplomats, arrived in Baghdad on Monday.

He pointed to meeting of Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim and his Russian counterpart and added that two sides emphasized the necessity to decrease the tensions and securing maritime navigation in the Persian Gulf.

Asked about what is the point of view of the Iraqi and Russian foreign ministers about the initiative of the Coalition of Hope and the Hormuz Peace Endeavor, Al-Sahhaf said "Iraqi Foreign Minister insists that regional countries are responsible for security in the Persian Gulf region."

"And also the two sides confirmed the need to increase cooperation between the two countries to find a solution for the conflict in Syria, in accordance with decisions of Astana conference," he added.

The visit of the head of Russian diplomacy includes meetings with the main Iraqi political figures and the authorities of the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

According to Lavrov, both sides will pay special attention to the fight against international terrorism and the spread of religious extremism.

Relations are also on the agenda, especially with regard to Russian support for the depressed Iraqi energy sector.

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Sergei Lavrov Russian foreign minister Persian Gulf security Ahmed Al-Sahhaf
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