Moscow on situation around Iraq

Russia considers that it is extremely important not to miss the opening opportunities of settling the situation around Iraq by political and diplomatic means and calls on all countries to contribute to the process in strict compliance with the UN Security Council's corresponding resolutions, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov announced, answering journalists' questions.

According to him, certain positive tendencies have emerged around the Iraqi settlement of late. Iraq's relations with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are stabilizing gradually. Baghdad and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan managed to resume their dialogue. In particular, during the last, third, round of the Vienna negotiations at the beginning of July an agreement in principle on Iraq's returning Kuwaiti archives was reached.

Several days ago the Iraqi government took another important step, inviting UN Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission /UN MOVIC/ head Hans Blix to visit Baghdad for technical consultations, Ivanov recalled. "The initiative is the unambiguous evidence of Baghdad regarding the issue of UN inspectorial groups' return to Iraq with all seriousness," the foreign minister pointed out.

In response to Iraq the UN Secretary General sent a message to the Iraqi Foreign Minister, approving of Baghdad's intention to continue the dialogue with the UN and expressing readiness to consider practical issues, concerning the resumption of inspections, at an expert level.

In its turn Russia firmly and consistently plumps for a political solution to the Iraq problem on the basis of implementing the UN Security Council's corresponding resolutions, Ivanov also remarked. "Other means, especially those with the use of force, are unacceptable from the viewpoint of international law and capable of further escalation of the situation in the Persian Gulf and the Mideastern region," the Russian minister warned.

At the same time, the world community must be guaranteed against Iraq's owning potential for the production and supplies of mass destruction weapons," he added. "Only the return of international observers to Iraq and their successful work there can clear the way to lift the sanctions, which have had a disastrous impact on Iraq for more than a decade and affected economic interests of many countries, including Russia," Igor Ivanov stressed.

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