Russia's Lavrov in Baghdad to boost military ties

10th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pushed for stronger military ties with Baghdad during talks with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari on a visit here Tuesday.

"We are ready to continue collaboration in different fields, especially in the military field," Lavrov told reporters at a news conference. "It is an important element to maintain the sovereignty of Iraq and unity of its land."

It was unclear how long Lavrov would be staying in Iraq, or which other Iraqi officials he would meet with.

Iraq is seeking to boost its military capacity as US forces withdraw from the country, having already bought American-made tanks and helicopters, and having come close to a deal on F-16 fighter jets.

The 45,000 US troops currently in Iraq must withdraw by the end of the year, according to the terms of a bilateral security pact.

© 2011 AFP

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