Baghdad, Feb 7 (IANS): Visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held meetings with top Iraqi leaders in Baghdad to discuss bilateral ties and unpaid arrears to Russian energy companies in Iraq due to US sanctions over Moscow's ongoing invasion of Kiev
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said in a joint press conference with Lavrov that the two sides "discussed how to deal with the dues of Russian companies operating in Iraq, and we will discuss this issue during our visit to Washington on Wednesday", reports Xinhua news agency.
"The sanctions should not be imposed on Iraq because its cooperation with Russian companies continues," Hussein told the press conference.
Earlier, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Sahaf said that a delegation headed by Hussein will visit Washington this week.
Hussein also said that he discussed with Lavrov regional issues and bilateral relations, stressing that "there will be a meeting in the coming months of the Iraqi-Russian joint committee aimed at boosting bilateral relations".
He reiterated his country's position calling for a cease-fire and heading toward negotiations to end the conflicts in Ukraine.
For his part, Lavrov criticized the pressures of Western countries, stressing the importance of "protecting legitimate economic relations from the illegal pressures of the West".
Lavrov arrived in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Sunday evening, heading a delegation that includes media figures, businessmen, and investors, to hold meetings with Iraqi leaders.
During his visit, Lavrov also met President Abdul Latif Rashid, who stressed that Iraq seeks to build balanced relations with all countries in a way that achieves common interests.