Russia Willing to Help Iraq Fight Terrorism — Security Official

In a rare visit to Iraq, a senior Russian official met leaders Sunday, saying his country will support this Arab country fight “the common evil” of terrorism, AP reported.

Igor Ivanov, the head of President Vladimir Putin’s security council, said he brought a message from the Russian leader to Iraq’s Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. He said Putin supports the building of a “united, democratic and prosperous Iraq.”

“Russia and the international community are fighting a difficult war against international terrorism which is considered our international enemy,” Ivanov told reporters after meeting al-Jaafari, who stood next to him. “We are cooperating with the world’s countries to reach a unified mechanism for a more effective fight against this common evil in the 21st century.”

“We are open to cooperate in this field and we will give all possible support for the current Iraqi leadership,” Ivanov said.

Russia historically had close links with Saddam Hussein’s regime. Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov visited Baghdad weeks before the fall of the old regime in April 2003 and told him to leave his post as president “if you love your country and love your people and want to avoid casualties among your people.”

Primakov said two years ago that Saddam, in turn, “made some remarks having absolutely nothing to do with the issue.”