The contracts have already been prepared and it will take two to three months to discuss the technical aspects, the news agency said.
The ambassador also said that Russia and Iraq had signed contracts worth $1.52 billion under a humanitarian program in 2002. 'The strategic area of Iraqi-Russian cooperation is the energy industry,' Interfax reported the ambassador as saying. 'The value of contracts in this area reaches about $1 billion,' he said.
In addition, a batch of OAO KamAZ trucks is to be supplied to Iraq soon, he said, and a contract for the supply of Volga vehicles and Volgograd-made tractors is also being implemented.
Iraq is a key market for KamAZ, Russia"s largest truck maker. Last year, the plant sold 2,500 trucks to Iraq, up over 25 per cent from 2001. Local media reports say it intends to export 3,000 trucks there this year.
In the 13th phase of the UN Oil for Food Program, Russia is expected to supply 575,000 tons of grain to Iraq. Some 550,000 tons of grain were supplied during the previous phase of the programme.
Iraq has no plans to set fire to its immense oil fields as it did in Kuwait the last war with the United States, Baghdad"s ambassador to Moscow said.
Iraq 'will not explode its oil wells in case of an attack against its territory,' Abbas Khalaf told a news conference. 'Oil is our national wealth.' US military officials fear Iraq may create massive fires at its oil reserves as both a defensive tactic and means of making sure that Western powers do not escape with the country"s spoils after the war.
Iraq possesses the world"s second largest proven reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia. Khalaf accused the United States of 'leading a policy of genocide against the Iraq people' and said Baghdad was relying on Russia"s diplomatic assistance to avert a war. During the Gulf war of January-February 1991,Baghdad"s retreating forces set fire to several oil wells there."
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