Iraq's Odious Debts

Iraqi Kurdish leader accuses Russia of backing Saddam’s regime

Agence France-Presse Moscow
May 7, 2003

A top Iraqi Kurdish leader in an interview published on Wednesday accused Russia of making a “mistake” by backing the Iraqi regime of deposed President Saddam Hussein.

Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told the daily Vremya Novostei that Russia’s policy towards Baghdad was “contrary to the interests of the Iraqi people.”

“Moscow made a mistake by only backing the Saddam Hussein regime,” Barzani said.

Russian contacts with Iraqi opposition groups had been “futile and not serious,” he added.

On the prospects for repayment of Iraq’s $8 billion debt to Russia, Barzani said this would be “difficult to carry out as the Russia-Iraq contacts signed at the time of the Saddam regime were contrary to the interests of the Iraqi people.”

Barzani’s KDP is one of the five Iraqi opposition groups designated by United States officials to form the core of an interim Iraqi administration.

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