Russia, France, Germany, China to Confirm Their Position on Iraq

Russia, France, Germany and China intend to confirm their position on the peaceful settlement of the Iraqi problem at the Wednesday session of the United Nations Security Council in New York.

According to RIA Novosti, the session will be preceded by a meeting of foreign ministers from Russia, France and Germany. There will also be a Chinese representative, though of what level is not yet known.

A source in the Russian delegation told RIA Novosti that the purpose of holding a session of the Security Council at the level of foreign ministers is to attract the attention of the world community to the importance of solving the Iraqi crisis by political means. The other purpose of the session is to prevent the other parties from "occupying," against the background of the US and Britain's harsh statements about military action in Iraq, the latest reports submitted by international inspectors and other positions to be voiced during the session.

The source also said the majority of members of the UN Security Council were set against a military operation in Iraq.

Speaking about the expedience of an extraordinary session of the Security Council after the US president presented Baghdad with an ultimatum and announced readiness to launch military action in case its conditions are not fulfilled, the source said the meeting in New York was meant to "perform a number of tasks." First of all, it is necessary to record the results of international inspectors' work in Iraq and evaluate them. According to the source, the reports submitted by the heads of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency may serve as a guarantee that it is still possible to get Iraq disarmed by peaceful means.

"Whatever course the situation may take, a record of the information provided by inspectors will make it possible to say there was an opportunity to solve the problem by political means," said the source.

Moscow officials think it important to "record the actual state of affairs": No matter what the situation around Iraq may lead to, the record will serve as a "reference point" of the world community's effort to solve the problem. The inspectors that arrived in Iraq in December 2002 too had a reference point in the form of information provided by their predecessors, who had worked in Iraq before the US-British bombings of 1998, the source recalled.

The meeting of foreign ministers of member states of the Security Council will confirm the position held by Moscow and its partners, that the UN Security Council must go on controlling the Iraqi settlement as a body responsible for international peace and security.

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