President Putin: No Reason for War in Iraq

The problem of Iraq can and should be resolved by peaceful political and diplomatic means. This statement was made yesterday evening by Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with French television company France 3 on the eve of his departure for an official visit to France. 'The international community has only one task concerning Iraq - to prove that the country does not have weapons of mass destruction, or to find them and force Iraq to destroy these weapons,' said the Russian President.

According to Putin, the UN Charter does not allow the Security Council to take a decision to change the political regime in a country. There is currently no basis for taking up a harsher position regarding Iraq because the inspectors 'haven't found anything yet.' The Iraqi authorities are not hampering the work of the inspectors, so their work must be continued, the Russian President believes.

France and Russia have much in common in their approach to resolving major international problems. In particular, they are united by an understanding of the fact that world security should be based on a multi-polar world. 'This is the main factor uniting us,' stressed Putin.

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