Interview with Qassim Jassim

Qassim Jassim, political analyst from Rusiya Al-Yaum TV channel, spoke to Russia Today about the ongoing summit on Iraq in the Egyptian town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Russia Today: Russia is willing to write off the Iraq state debt which is US$8 BLN in exchange for the access to oil fields. Do you think this is likely to happen?

Qassim Jassim: In the current term I do not think this is going to happen, mainly because most oil fields there are already contracted by Americans. They are 100% America controlled. Probably, when Iraq gets stabilised with the economic prosperity in the future there might be a chance for Russia to go back to Iraq, especially with its the great experience of work on the oil fields in Iraq.

RT: So, at the moment this is not likely to happen?

Q.J.: At the moment I do not believe so because this is not only business in Iraq is controlled by the Americans. Upon the independence of the Iraqi government Russia might get back.

RT: So, a little later in the future and not now?

Q.J.: Yes, not now. I do not believe that now.

RT: What is Russia's role in stabilising the situation in Iraq?

Q.J.: Definitely Russia has a great role in stabilising if it wants to play it because Russia is an old friend of the Arabs, not only the Arabs but of Iran at the same time. So it has a substantial influence over the Arab states neighbouring Iraq. And Russia can press on these countries to stop violence by cancelling support for the militias from both sides in Iraq and by carefully controlling their borders with Iraq to prevent the insurgents from crossing the border to Iraq . So, I believe that Russia has a great role in stabilising Iraq because of this fact. In addition to this Russia is really popular among the Iraqis and is always welcomed as an old friend.

RT: So Russia plays a significant role in the region and in Iraq in particular?

Q.J.: Yes, it does.

RT: We know that the U.S. and Syria held talks on Thursday and there is speculation that Iran and the U.S. may hold talks on the sidelines of the meeting? How significant are these talks and what role will they play in stabilising Iraq?

Q.J.: They are definitely significant; they are very significant in fact because sitting together and talking will clarify viewpoints of both parties. We know that the U.S. has long been accusing Syria and Iran of being states sponsoring terrorism. So talking together will clarify viewpoints and as Condoleezza Rice herself described the talks with the Syrian Foreign Minister, they were professional and businesslike and the Syrian Minister himself said the talks were frank and constructive.