Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani (left) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 2, 2017. Photo: Rudaw
SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia— Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg on Friday following Barzani’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Barzani, who is in the Russian city as the head of a Kurdish delegation, told reporters on Friday after his meeting with Lavrov that his visit “is an opportunity to expand the relationship [with Russia] in all fields, including energy, economic and political sectors.”
He said that relations between Russia and Kurdistan go back a long way and both sides are seeking to improve and expand these ties.
“We now have good relations and we hope it will be better,” Barzani told reporters.
Barzani said that he has discussed the expansion of political, economic and trade ties with Russian officials and further meetings and discussions are due to take place in the coming days.
Spokesperson of the Kurdish government Safin Dzayee had told Rudaw on Thursday that the meeting between the two leaders would be an opportunity for the Kurdish PM to discuss with Putin issues related to the future of the Kurdish region in Iraq.
He added that Russia wants to gain back its influence in the Middle East.
"The Middle East has experienced a significant change, and will experience even more changes. Russia also has its own influence in this region, especially after a long absence. Russia is now returning to the region, and with a big force,” Dzayee said.
He said that it is important for Kurdistan to discuss with Russia its “objectives and programs” regarding the “future of Kurdistan Region in Iraq.”
“No doubt that Russia , like any other country, pays attention to this,” Dzayee said of the future of Erbil, adding that it is important for Kurdistan that Russian side would hear the Kurdish vision “up close and directly” from us.
Russian oil giant Rosneft and the Kurditan Regional Government's Ministry of Natural Resources also on Friday signed an agreement in Saint Petersburg regarding increased hydrocarbon, commerce and logistical cooperation.