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Iraqi Premier In Moscow For Talks On Energy, Ties

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is visiting Moscow for talks addressing Russian investment in Iraqi oil reserves, problematic Russian oil contracts, and general diplomatic ties.

Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Muhammad Hajj Hammud told Radio Free Iraq (RFI) that Moscow, which fiercely opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, is looking forward to a closer relationship with Baghdad as Iraq regains its sovereignty from multinational forces.

Russian analyst Elena Subonina told RFI that Russian businesses feel excluded from Iraq's economic sector.

Hammud said the country's special relationship with the United States does not entitle Washington to any economic benefits, and pointed to Baghdad's strengthening ties with China, Japan, and the European Union.