ST. PETERSBURG, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Russia's participation in Middle Eastern issues has prevented the region from falling apart, specifically in Syria and Iraq, said visiting Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki here on Tuesday.
Maliki made the remarks ahead of an official meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a Kremlin transcript.
"If it were not for Russia's contribution, the map of the region would have changed for the worse for us," Maliki told Putin.
Despite all the progress in the joint fight against al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, Moscow and Bagdad need to make more efforts to cooperate in this area, said the Iraqi official.
"The spectre of a resurgent terrorist threat will always be there, as long as Iraqis remain divided by religious quarrels," Maliki said.
The situation in Iraq and the Middle East as a whole remains "challenging," said Putin.
Stressing importance of military technical cooperation between the two countries, Putin said Russia is proactive in this area and Iraq benefits from its assistance.
Putin said that a lot has yet to be done in terms of bilateral economic cooperation.