While finishing up an official visit to Erbil, a senior Russian diplomat said that the issue of bolstering ties to the Kurdistan Region, especially economic ones, took center stage in two days of talks with top Kurdish leaders.
Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister and President Vladimir Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa arrived in the capital of the autonomous federal region of Iraq on Wednesday and held a series of meetings with Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) head Masoud Barzani.
Bogdanov said during a press conference capping off his visit to Erbil that he had discussed the status of Russian energy giants operating in the Kurdistan Region, covering various topics relevant to the economic and energy sectors.
Erbil and Moscow have deepened bilateral relations over the past few years, notably after the KRG signed an agreement with Russia’s state oil company Rosneft to develop the region’s oil and gas infrastructure, including the design of a new gas pipeline that could substantially boost oil production in the Kurdistan Region.
Meanwhile, Gazprom Neft, Russia’s third-largest oil producer, was the subject of talks as well. Gazprom first began operating in Iraq in 2010 in the southern province of Wasit before launching operations in Kurdistan.
In late December, Oleg Levin, the Consul General of the Russian Federation in the Kurdistan Region, relayed to Kurdistan 24 in an interview his satisfaction with development in the Kurdistan Region, particularly the forming of the current regional government and its pursuit of reform.