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Iraqi Kurdistan and Russia talk about cooperation

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On Monday, the Foreign Minister of Kurdistan’s Regional Government, Falah Mustafa Bakir, had a meeting in Moscow with Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Representative for the Middle East and North Africa, to discuss the current situation in Iraq. In an interview realesed to russian newspaper, Izvestia, Bakir outlined the issues that have been addressed, namely; request to support the Peshmerga forces, who have been fighting against terrorism; relations between Iraqi Kurdistan and Russia; fight against terrorism; refugees in Iraq; perspective of russian mediation through the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Erbin and further strenghtening of economic, political, cultural ties between Russian Federation and Iraqi Kurdistan; current state of affairs in Syria. Russia declared is avaible to provide the necessary support to the fight against terrorism. Moreover, the Government of Iraqi Kurdistan is confident about the approval of Russia, as one of their allies, in the event of Iraqi Kurdistan reaching indipendence from Iraq, since negotiations have already been opened on that issue with Baghdad.

Saudi Arabia and China: more cooperation over terrorism and security

Saudi Arabia and China agreed to step up cooperation on various key issues including security, cordial ties and counter-terrorism during talks held in Riyadh on Sunday. The talks in Riyadh follow the signing of 15 preliminary agreements between Saudi Arabia and China in August, touching on a wide range of fields from energy to housing, during the visit of the deputy crown prince. The crown prince and several ministers attended the meeting, which also reviewed the strategic partnership and future cooperation to boost bilateral ties.

The Indo-Afghan “friendship dam” and the Pakistan variable

The long wave of war that ushered in the era post 11/9 has come to seriously damage the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, whose common border, weak and porous, has for years been the scene of Taliban militia incursions and growing tensions between Kabul and Karachi.

In the space created by the slow process of removal gradually entered the historic enemy of Pakistan, the India Narendra Modi. The unprecedented cooperation between India and Afghanistan now travels on a dual track, military and economic, with supplies of armaments and infrastructure investments for a billion dollars. New Dheli put on the plate the resources to build a new National Assembly in Kabul, renew the road network and enhance the power lines of the nearby Asian country battered by decades of conflict, also investing resources on humanitarian initiatives.

The emblem of this renewed relationship, which Pakistan looks to with obvious hostility, was the inauguration, two days ago,  of the “Friendship Dam” (Salma Dam), with the presence of President Modi and his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani. The largest hydroelectric plant in the province of Herat, severely damaged during the civil war of the 90s, has been completely rebuilt. The project was funded with an investment of $ 300 million and for its realization 1,500 Afghan and Indian engineers worked together.

High more than 100 meters and long more than half a kilometer, the dam will be capable of generating 42 megawatts of power and will help the irrigation of 75,000 hectares of agricultural land, according to a statement released from the President Modi. The electricity generated by the plant will illuminate the houses and the streets of 560 villages and 260,000 households in the region.

The two presidents officially inaugurated the dam pressing together the starting button. The dam, President Ghani wrote in a post after the ceremony, ” another big step in deepening and broadening the relationship between Afghanistan and India “. For Modi will be the symbol of friendship between the two great neighbors and  will ” usher in hope, light up homes, nourish the fertile fields of Herat and bring prosperity to the people of the region”.

In the triangle of Central Asian relations it remains the unknown factor of the third element, the friend removed that sees his enemy take over his place. Afghanistan has long been subjected to the sphere of influence of Pakistan and India has often preferred to keep its distance. This rapprochement between New Dheli and Kabul, also on the level of military cooperation, can only put in stirring the Pakistani government and the powerful military service system, which for years have considered Afghanistan as its backyard. Also on the long-standing issue of Kashmir repercussions could occur, since Afghanistan, with its eastern offshoots, looks onto the disputed region.


Luca Marchesini

Luca Marchesini
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