Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Iraq in May to discuss investments in Iraqi energy projects, among other issues. In an email interview, Marat Terterov, director and principal founder of the European Geopolitical Forum in Brussels, discussed Russia-Iraq relations.
WPR: What is the recent history of Iraq-Russia relations?
Marat Terterov: Russia, along with France, was one of Iraq's closer allies during the 1990s, when Baghdad was heavily isolated and subject to U.N. sanctions. Moscow frequently lent diplomatic support to Baghdad during this period, pushing for the lifting of the oil embargo against Iraq and condemning occasional U.S. and U.K. airstrikes against Iraqi targets. Russian diplomatic overtures toward Iraq at times worked for the benefit of the Gulf region during this period, as was evident in 1994 when Moscow persuaded Baghdad to publicly recognize Kuwait's sovereignty and territorial integrity.