Influential Russian senator sharply denounces forceful solution of Iraqi problem

The leader of the anti-terrorist coalition -- the United States -- "is today holding the world in tension, threatening to resort to unilateral force-based actions with respect to Iraq", Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Federation Council's international affairs committee, said on Thursday, according to a RIA correspondent. Margelov was speaking during an urgent debate at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe /PACE/.

What is more, according to him, the US president "bluntly says that he intends to abolish the regime of Saddam Husayn".

Meanwhile, he stressed, "there is not a single act in international law which permits a deliberate and forceful change in the regime of one of its entities". Attempts at unilateral forceful solution of the Iraqi problem mean "only the beginning of a war with unpredictable consequences", Margelov went on to say. He also believes that some of them "can however be predicted". According to OPEC forecasts, oil prices, in the case the conflict begins, will soar to 40-100 dollars per barrel. An "explosive situation" will shape up in Council of Europe member-countries, "where the proportion of Moslem population is high". "That is why," the senator emphasised, "it is the Europeans above all who are required to take a particularly well-considered position. This means that we need consistent support for the UN mandate in everything that concerns settlement of the Iraqi problem".

In this connection, Margelov tabled an amendment to a resolution, saying that PACE urges "UN Security Council members not to resort to military intervention without exploring all other avenues, unless a future report of inspectors confirms a blatant violation of UN resolutions". In the Russian senator's view, this appeal should be addressed "directly to the Security Council".

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