Russia will Vote against any Resolution on Iraq which Opens the Way to War

Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov does not know where the Iranian mass media received information to the effect that Vladimir Putin allegedly promised George Bush not to use the right of veto on the Iraqi issue in the UN Security Council.

A representative of the Iranian mass media told Igor Ivanov at a press conference in Tehran on Thursday that according to information available Russian President Vladimir Putin Promised US president George Bush, during their telephone conversation, not to use the right of veto in the UN Security Council.

"The conversations of the two presidents are confidential, and I don't know where such information appeared from," the Russian foreign minister said in reply.

He also stressed that "Russia will vote against any resolution on Iraq which directly and indirectly opens the way to a military operation." The telephone conversation of the two presidents took place in early hours of Friday last week. According to the press secretary of the Russian president, Alexei Gromov, it was conducted on the initiative of the American side.

The heads of state exchanged assessments of approaches to the settlement of the Iraqi problem in detail. Russia confirmed its consistent position in favour of a peaceful settlement of the task set by the international community with respect to Iraq. It was stressed that all the possibilities and means were available to make such a decision, which can be complemented and strengthened if it is necessary for the UN inspectors.

Putin and Bush agreed to continue the dialogue on the situation around Iraq, the Russian president's press secretary reported.