Vladimir Putin Opines That Russia May Change Its Position on Iraq

On Monday Vladimir Putin stated that Russia did not exclude possible adoption by the UN Security Council of a new resolution on Iraq. In reply to questions of journalists in the wake of his meeting with Silvio Berlusconi, head of the Italian government the Russian President stated that "if it becomes necessary to consider a new resolution we will think of that but at the moment we see no necessity in it but we do not exclude its possibility." While talking about the previous UN Security Council's resolution on Iraq Putin indicated that Russia assumed that "another resolution was not required as the former resolution was sufficient but having heard arguments of its partners Russia agreed with them". The President stated that "it was necessary to add whether cooperation with Iraq was satisfactory or something else was needed." The President agreed that "the major responsibility was vested in Iraq which had to cooperate with inspectors." He stressed that Russia "was putting constant pressure on Iraq." Putin reminded that recently an official Russian delegation headed by one of deputy foreign ministers visited Baghdad.

The President also reminded that Baghdad "agreed to questioning of its scientists" and that they "might be taken abroad for such questioning." In addition to that Iraqi authorities agreed "to inspectors visiting private houses." Putin stressed that "it seemed like human rights' violation but Baghdad agreed to that." The Russian leader characterized as correct the position of the Italian prime-minister that the UN Security Council had to receive an answer to the question "regarding the whereabouts of previously existing weapons and where they were eliminated." In reply to the question whether inspectors required additional time for work the President stated: "presently inspectors are saying that they need some time, we trust them which means that they should be given an opportunity to work."

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