Putin: Russian companies ready to increase infrastructure work in Iraq

President Vladimir Putin is lobbying Iraq's prime minister on behalf of Russian companies trying to get involved in rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, particularly its crucial oil and gas sector. In a message sent Monday to Nouri al-Maliki, Putin said the massive West Qurna oil field was of particular interest, and he noted that Russia was expanding its diplomatic presence in Iraq. "Our companies are ready to increase their contribution to the restoration and modernization of the economic infrastructure of Iraq, primarily in the energy, oil and gas sectors where we have accumulated rich experience and made good arrangements," Putin said, according to a Kremlin statement.