Russia Warns U.S. on Use of Force in Iraq : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

Russia Warns U.S. on Use of Force in Iraq

Mon Sep 2, 1:45 PM ET

By Ron Popeski

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia warned the United States on Monday that using force against Iraq would undermine stability in the region and complicate chances of settling the Iraqi issue.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, speaking at a news conference alongside his Iraqi counterpart, said Russia had no evidence that Iraq posed any threat to U.S. security.

He said Russia wanted the earliest possible return to Iraq of United Nations ( news - web sites) inspectors to determine whether Baghdad held weapons of mass destruction.

"We have repeatedly stressed that any use of force would not only complicate a settlement in Iraq, but also seriously undermine what is already a difficult situation in the Gulf and the Middle East," Ivanov said after more than three hours of talks with Iraq's Naji Sabri.

Sabri was visiting Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, as part of a concerted effort by Baghdad to fend off U.S. threats to attack it on grounds it was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Sabri visited China last week and Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan toured Syria and Lebanon.

Asked whether Russia might veto any proposal seeking the Security Council's approval for an attack on Iraq, Ivanov said he hoped the body would never have to discuss the issue.

"We hope that the issue will not go before the Security Council in the form you have put it and a Russian veto will not be necessary," he said.

Ivanov said Russia challenged statements by some U.S. officials that there was no alternative to a military solution.

"We have not found a single well-founded argument in these statements demonstrating that Iraq represents a threat to U.S. national security," he said. "These statements are political in nature."


Ivanov said the return of arms inspectors to Iraq was "a vital condition" for reaching a settlement and securing the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

He said outstanding issues on inspection of sites in Iraq should be clarified in "an appropriate fashion and agreed so that inspectors may resume their activity in the near future."

Moscow has strongly backed Washington's "war on terrorism," launched after last September's hijacked airliner attacks on the United States, but has rejected U.S. talk of an "axis of evil" of states bent on obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

In Johannesburg, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said the return of the monitors was "still under consideration." He said he would meet U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ( news - web sites) on Tuesday to discuss the crisis between Baghdad and Washington.

And in Baghdad, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein ( news - web sites) said any U.S. military action against his country would aim to control Middle East oil.

Russia enjoys good ties with Iraq dating from Soviet times and has long called for the return of inspectors to deflate pressure for U.S. military action and get sanctions lifted.

U.N. arms experts left Iraq in December 1998 ahead of a U.S.-British bombing campaign to punish Baghdad for its alleged failure to cooperate with inspectors.

Washington has used Iraq's alleged possession of chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons to underpin President Bush ( news - web sites)'s campaign for a "regime change" -- a euphemism for ousting Saddam.

Ivanov had urged Iraq at the start of the talks to pursue talks with Annan. He also praised the "dynamic development" of ties between Russia and Iraq, but made no mention of a cooperation program which Baghdad's ambassador last month said was close to signature and worth $40 billion.

Russian opposition to any attack on Iraq is seen linked in part to efforts to recover billions of dollars in debts run up by Iraq during the Soviet era. It also hopes its oil firms will secure lucrative pumping contracts when sanctions are lifted.

Sabri was due in Cairo after Moscow to lead his country's delegation at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers starting there on Wednesday, an Iraqi Foreign Ministry source told Reuters.

-- So wut?? (Dumbya dudint care @ he dudint listun tuh nobuddy. cuz he's a macho tuffguy!!), September 03, 2002


Dumbya doesn't care if he starts WWIII, all he wants is to get his hands on Iraq's oil and kill Saddam to make his Pappy happy.

-- (Dumbya@greedy.jackass), September 03, 2002.

Talking to yourself again?

-- (take@your.medication), September 03, 2002.

Hey Roloboy! Come on and join the party niggah!

LOL, yeah, I've noticed all you Clinton bashers have run off with your tails between your legs to hide your heads in shame. Cowardice is very typical of the Repugnant species!

All that whining and bitching about "Klintoon", and now that you've got the jerkoff hero you wanted you're finally beginning to see the ironic folly of your tremendous ignorance and stupidity. Yeah, if I were in your shoes I guess I'd be pretty ashamed of myself too. But then, I would never be so stupid as to end up in those shoes, ROTFLMAO!!

-- Hee haaaw! (what comes around @ goes. around), September 04, 2002.

You are a nutcase

-- (loony@toons.), September 04, 2002.

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