Russia "attaches particular importance to a political dialogue between the Iraqi government and the UN secretary general, which is to start in New York on February 26," Russian special presidential envoy on the Middle East peace process Vasily Sredin said on Thursday. "This process has a serious potential for settling the problem of Iraq," Sredin said, particularly emphasizing the fact that the dialogue between Iraq and the UN will begin "with active assistance from Russia and a number of other states." When asked about the possibility of Russia pulling out of the sanctions regime against Iraq, the diplomat noted that "Russia as a permanent UN Security Council member treats its international commitments seriously”, Interfax reports. "We are actively striving for a just political resolution to the Iraqi problem on the basis of fulfilling the well-known UN Security Council resolutions," Sredin said. Moscow is certain that "the situation surrounding Iraq can be settled only by political means on the basis of corresponding UN Security Council resolutions," he said. The deputy prime minister recalled that Russia had condemned the unlawful air raids upon Baghdad's suburbs carried out by the U.S.' and British airforces on February 16. "Such actions run counter to the UN Charter and norms of international law, and complicate the already tense situation in the Persian Gulf region and Middle East," Sredin said.
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Thousands of pages of secret military plans are to be offered for approval at the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius