Iraq intends to secure Moscow's support in case of US aggression

Iraq intends to secure Moscow's support, including in the UN Security Council, in case of possible US military aggression, the ambassador of Iraq in Moscow, Abbas Khalaf Kunfud, said in a RIA Novosti interview on Thursday. Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri will pay a working visit to Russia on September 2.

According to Kunfud, the Iraqi minister will have talks with Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. It is planned that the ministers discuss coordination of efforts between Iraq and the United Nations, as well as the position of the UN Security Council concerning Baghdad's policy.

He added that conclusion of a large-scale agreement on bilateral economic cooperation scheduled for September's meeting between the Russian and Iraqi foreign ministers is not planned to be discussed. Kunfud explained that the visit by the Iraqi foreign minister to Russia "is part of a traditional exchange of visits and views between Baghdad and Moscow".

The Iraqi minister is expected to acquaint his Russian opposite number with Baghdad's position on the latest American threats, which the ambassador described as "impudent".

The talks, according to Kunfud, will focus on Iraq's latest initiatives regarding Baghdad's readiness to receive the head of the US Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission /UNMOVIC/, Hans Blix, to assess the situation with elimination of weapons of mass destruction and to hold technical consultations on disarmament issues.

The head of the Iraqi mission recalled that Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri sent in August two letters to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "Now we are expecting a concrete answer to our proposals," the ambassador said.

Kunfud allowed for the possibility of inviting other international inspectors to Iraq, noting that this should be discussed "in private", after basic agreement is reached between Iraq and the UN. "The first thing to do is to invite Blix, to come to terms with him, carry out review negotiations and put all the dots on the i's concerning the eight years of international inspectors' work in Iraq," the diplomat emphasised.

At the same time he pointed to contradictions in the US position, which insists on resumption of international inspections in Iraq, but at the same time "claims that it does not like the regime in Baghdad". Commenting on the possible beginning of a military operation against Iraq, the ambassador said unequivocally, "we as diplomats must prevent aggression and decide the matter by political means".

The Iraqi diplomat made the point that "the American administration, by declaring its aggressive intentions, is once again demonstrating to the whole world that it does not respect international law and UN resolutions on Iraq".

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