Moscow awaiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair

On Thursday British Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to arrive in Moscow on a brief working visit.

The Iraqi issue will dominate the agenda of the negotiations between the leaders of the two countries, the informed sources have reported.

Tony Blair will try to persuade Moscow not to oppose the UN Security Council signing a new "tough" resolution on Iraq. The resolution, authorizing the use of military force against Iraq, was initiated by Washington. The official text of the new resolution has not yet been added to the agenda of the UN Security Council. However Washington, backed by London, is lobbying the UN Security Council for a "tough" resolution which would authorize the United States, even under a vain pretext, to use military force against Iraq to oust the ruling regime.

Observers in London believe that while addressing the Iraqi issue the leaders of the two countries are likely to touch upon it in general, namely, they are expected to exchange opinions on the possible guidelines for the international community and its reaction to the recently initiated "preventive strikes" conception.

On the eve of the visit the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Yuri Fedotov, announced that Russia could agree to signing the new resolution on condition that it would not put forward impossible requirements and authorize automatic use of force. The top official stressed that if the majority of the UN Security Council supported the new resolution, the latter should not envisage the impossible. Secondly, it should be based on the previous resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council. Thirdly, it should not contain any provisions authorizing automatic use of force.

Russia continues to believe that international weapons inspectors must resume their work as soon as possible and legally no additional UN Security Council resolutions are required.

According to the RIA Novosti sources, the Moscow summit is expected to address the Middle East issue. Other items on the agenda are NATO and European problems. In this respect the summit is expected to focus on bringing to a meaningful level Russia's cooperation with the alliance in the new twenty-member format, as well as on the Kaliningrad Region issue (Russia's enclave in the Baltics).

It might be a coincidence, but the forthcoming visit of the British Prime-Minister, Tony Blair, falls on the 25th Anniversary of signing the Nuclear War Prevention Treaty between the Soviet Union and Great Britain. The visit is expected to last till October 11.

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