Iraqi PM in Russia urges cooperation on fighting IS

AFP , Thursday 21 May 2015

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) shakes hands with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, May 21, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday met his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev at the start of a Moscow visit aimed at boosting cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State group.

"We understand that the threat of terrorism is enveloping not just Iraq but the neighbouring countries," Abadi told Medvedev in remarks translated into Russian.

"It evolves and takes new shapes, and we understand perfectly well that it requires heightened attention from Russia. We expect more active cooperation in this direction," he said.

He was set to meet President Vladimir Putin later in the day, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The two are to discuss defence cooperation and the "situation in the (Middle East) region," after Islamic State fighters seized the strategic Iraqi city of Ramadi, dealing a major blow to the government.

Abadi is on a diplomatic drive to rally support for tackling IS, travelling to Washington last month where he asked President Barack Obama to step up a US-led air campaign against the jihadists and boost defence aid.

He is now taking the same message to Moscow, where he compared the battle with IS to Russia's struggle against Nazi Germany 70 years ago.

"In a joint effort, we will be able to have victory over these new forces, similar to those that you overcame in the past," he told Medvedev.

Russia last year delivered Mi-28 attack helicopters to the Iraqi military for use against the insurgents.

"We are glad to support and advance cooperation with Iraq at the government level," said Medvedev.

"We highly value relations with Russia and think they have a lot of potential," Abadi declared.

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