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Putin Eyes Visit to Baghdad Amid Growing Russian-Iraqi Contacts
By Ruslan Mamedov
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Lately, official Russian-Iraqi contacts have been intensifying noticeably.

On Nov. 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Iraqi President Barham Salih met behind closed doors within the agenda of the Mediterranean Dialogue in Rome. On Nov. 20-21, Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian deputy foreign minister and special presidential envoy for the Middle East and North Africa, met all of Iraq's key decision-makers when he was in Baghdad. The sides agreed to further develop relations and make efforts to hold a meeting on the highest level.

Russian officials' increased contacts with their Iraqi counterparts have become a virtual necessity as a result of the changes in Iraq's domestic politics brought about by the latest electoral cycle. The number, level, and scale of the meetings are indeed exceptional, and all the more so considering the constant foreign trips Iraqi politicians themselves make.

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