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Maliki: We want Russian companies in Iraq

Maliki: We want Russian companies in Iraq
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (R) welcomes Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki before their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow on April 10, 2009. Both countries will consider restoring contracts they agreed to before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. (UPI Photo/Anatoli Zhdanov) | License Photo

MOSCOW, April 10 (UPI) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Friday that he hopes Russian companies will become more involved in business in his country.

Maliki was in Moscow for high-level talks Friday with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Novosti news agency reported.

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"We are seeking to attract Russian companies to the Iraqi market and involve them in various projects," he said at a news conference after the discussions.

Putin said that Maliki has "boosted confidence" in Iraq by curbing violence. He promised to send a Russian delegation to Iraq soon to continue the discussions.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko participated in the talks. He said that Technopromexport, the leading Russian power construction company, and Stroytransgaz, an engineering and construction firm, could be involved in Iraqi projects.

The Soviet Union and its Russian successor had a close relationship with the government of Saddam Hussein. Russian leaders opposed the 2003 invasion that overthrew Saddam and Maliki has had a closer relationship with the United States.

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