Official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko announced on Tuesday that Moscow still believes there are no grounds for military action against Baghdad, as the heads of UNMOVIC and the IAEA have not reported any violations by Iraq of UN Security Council resolutions.
According to him, Baghdad has allowed immediate access to facilities to be checked, has provided the UN inspectors with the necessary organisational assistance and in line with UNMOVIC wishes has handed over additional information about Iraq's former weapons of mass destruction programme. "Moscow is counting on the fact that these actions will be followed by similar steps, for which we are conducting the appropriate work with Baghdad," Yakovenko said.
The Russian diplomat stressed that UNMOVIC claims and wishes in relation to the Iraqi side were work-related and could be settled through future contacts and inspections. In this connection, the Russian Foreign Ministry positively evaluates the agreement reached on Iraq's initiative on UNMOVIC and IAEA heads visiting Baghdad in the coming days to clarify the remaining questions.
"In the course of the UN Security Council session, Russian will confirm its principles and unchanging position in favour of a political-diplomatic settlement to the situation surrounding Iraq on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions and norms of international law," Yakovenko said. He stressed that UNMOVIC and the IAEA created great "inspection potential" for this to be achieved. Alexander Yakovenko emphasised that this stance was broadly supported in the Security Council and the UN as a whole.
In Bolivia, at least seven people were killed at El Alto State University on Tuesday, March 3. The tragedy took place during a student meeting on the fifth floor of the building