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Putin, Iraqi Vice President Maliki Meet Near St. Petersburg

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets with Iraqi Vice President Nuri al-Maliki in St. Petersburg on July 25.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met on July 25 with the Iraqi vice president and former prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, in the town of Strelna near St. Petersburg.

Putin said during the talks that Moscow and Baghdad "have a great deal yet to do" to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation.

Putin described the situation in the Middle East as "complicated," and said Russian-Iraqi cooperation must go beyond bilateral ties to cover the whole region.

Maliki thanked Russia for assisting Iraq in fight against terrorism and Moscow's efforts "to accelerate shipments of the arms Iraq and Russia agreed on earlier."

"In our region, in particular in Syria and Iraq, Russia made an enormous contribution to preventing this region's break-up," Maliki said.

Maliki is scheduled to complete his visit to Russia on July 26.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax