PM Mikhail Kasyanov: Russia Is Ready to Help Iraqi People

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has expressed his disappointment at the fact that 'the Iraq problem is being resolved by military means without the approval of the UN Security Council.' As the government press office reports, this announcement was made when opening a government meeting today. The PM emphasised that Russia is ready to provide assistance to the Iraqi people with UN authorization.

Mr Kasyanov said that he had discussed the start of the US military offensive this morning with President Vladimir Putin. He believes the president will give a detailed statement on the Iraq crisis today. The PM emphasised that 'Russia has done everything possible to resolve world conflicts peacefully. This is also true of the situation in Iraq,' he said. He added that the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is currently holding necessary talks in New York.

Mr Kasyanov said that a new department of the Russian Ministry for Emergencies should be created to work with the UN and provide assistance to the Iraqi people fleeing their country as a result of war. He added that similar departments should be created in those countries bordering Iraq, especially in Iran.