Russia stands by Baghdad and insists on Iraq's territorial integrity

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By Robert Hackwill
Russia stands by Baghdad and insists on Iraq's territorial integrity

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has sided with his Iraqi counterpart, stating that Moscow is committed to Iraq’s territorial integrity, despite Russia having economic ties with the Iraqi Kurds, who voted for independence from Iraq in late September.

Ibrahim al-Jaafari visits Moscow from Oct. 23rd to the 25th, with oil and gas talks high on the agenda.

“I would like to confirm once again our commitment and respect to Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, our commitment to the principle of solving all occurring problems through inclusive national dialogue with participation and consideration of the interests of all ethnic, religious and political groups,” said Lavrov.

“I would like to say that Russia takes an extremely friendly position on the question of the Kurdish referendum, because Russia is respected by the whole world including our brothers, the Kurds, which we consider an integral part of our nation,” said al-Jaafari.

The Kurds’ voting for independence in September led to the Iraqi army moving into Kirkuk and its surrounding areas, land taken by the Kurds in 2014 when they drove out ISIL forces, who had taken control when the Iraqi army fled.

Iraqi forces now control the last district previously occupied by the Kurds, Altun Kupri, on the road between Kirkuk and Erbil, the Kurds’ capital.