MOSCOW : Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Alhakim on Wednesday thanked Russia for its assistance in battling the Daesh terrorist group at a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“I would like to… express my gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the help we received in the fight against Daesh*. Russia played a central role in it”, Alhakim said.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Iraqi minister said he was happy to be in Moscow where he planned to discuss a wide range of matters, from bilateral cooperation to regional issues.

“We would like to discuss important issues, first of all, Russia’s role in Iraq and our trade and economic turnover, and of course the role of Russia in Syria and other regions,” he added. Lavrov noted significant progress in efforts to re-establish security in Iraq and promised Russia’s continued help in eliminating the last pockets of Daesh insurgency, also expressing hope that the US would not be used by Washington for other objectives than defeating terrorists in the region.

“We certainly expect that the US military presence in Iraq will meet its stated goals, namely, to fight terrorism and help the government of Iraq to stabilize the situation, and not to somehow solve the geopolitical tasks in the region that are unilaterally pursued by the US. I have no doubt that it is from this understanding that the Iraqi leadership proceeds”, the Russian minister said.

The Iraqi government supports bringing Syria back to the Arab League, the foreign minister of Iraq added. Members of 5th Special Forces Group (A) conducting 50. Cal Weapons training during counter ISIS operations at Al Tanf Garrison in southern Syria.