Russia and Iraq would strengthen energy ties, eye new military-technical contracts while scrapping red tapes restricting their trade cooperation, the Kremlin press service said Wednesday.
During his meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the success the new Iraqi authorities have made and offered to further enhance military-technical cooperation between the two sides.
Maliki told local media earlier Wednesday that Baghdad was willing to buy Russian military equipment worth 4 billion U.S. dollars.
He said Monday that Iraq needed Russia's help in military and defense areas, and would like to forge a closer partnership with Moscow in the future.
During the talks, Putin asked Maliki to support Russian companies' business in Iraq.
"Our companies unfold their activities in Iraq. This is not a single company but a very list of large energy giants, not only the Russian ones but now the international ones," the Kremlin press service quoted Putin as saying.
Admitting the Russia-Iraq trade ties faced certain red tapes which dragged down its development, Putin called for more simplified procedures and less restrictions on registering Russian companies in Iraq.
Putin also expressed his hope that these restrictions could be scrapped during Maliki's visit here.
"Unfortunately, our trade turnover is not big enough so far but there are good big projects," Putin added.
The two sides also discussed opening of direct air traffic between Russia and Iraq, according to the Kremlin.
On Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Maliki discussed a roadmap for the development of bilateral relations.