Interview of Russian Ambassador to Iraq Maxim Maksimov with Interfax news agency was published at the Foreign Ministry’s website.
As Maksimov noted, “Challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19 in Russia, Iraq and around the world require special attention. Russian companies in Iraqi and Kurdish projects have taken timely measures and have shown great responsibility in ensuring that their oil production facilities have advanced equipment for protecting their staff and preventing the disease from spreading. All employees arriving at work have their temperature taken every day, and companies have stepped up efforts to monitor their health. In addition, employees have all the personal protective equipment they need. Those arriving from abroad as part of shift rotation schemes have to stay 14 days in quarantine facilities that have been created for this purpose. As of today, there are no confirmed coronavirus cases at oil and gas facilities operated with the participation of Russian companies.”
“All Russian operators in Iraq continue their routine operations,” he said. “Offices and branches of Russian companies in Iraq have been working as usual. Of course, they take all the necessary precautions. If the coronavirus situation worsens substantially in Iraq posing a real threat to the health and lives of the employees of Russian companies, the operators have specific and effective plans in place, including regarding repatriation to Russia.”
According to the Ambassador, “Iraq has been going through a protracted political crisis since October 2019. Nevertheless, we have been able to establish constructive relations with the country’s leadership and cabinet members, including in its economic block. Unfortunately, an even more serious impediment has emerged in the past month, complicating the work in Iraq for all foreign economic operators. I am referring to the strict quarantine measures introduced by the Iraqi authorities in order to fight the spread of COVID-19. International and domestic flights were cancelled from March 15, which complicated staff rotation at our facilities. In addition, a curfew was imposed in Baghdad on March 17, whereby all government agencies stopped working.”