Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the USSR, has called on Saddam Hussein to leave the post and sees this as "the only and best" way to prevent a war in Iraq.
Hussein's retirement will pave the road for reforming the country and a military action will in this way be "canceled", while the Iraqi leader "can be pardoned for all he has done during the many years of ruling the country", said Gorbachev at a Moscow press conference on Thursday.
The Russian ex-president cited by way of historic examples for Hussein his own 1991 resignation and the 1917 abdication of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II.
Gorbachev called "right" the position of Russia, Germany and France, which stand for the peaceful disarmament of Iraq. But, in the obtaining situation it can hardly be expected the United States will "backtrack" on Iraq, believes the first and the last president of the USSR.