Ivanov, Powell Talk to Each Other Over the Phone

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and US State Secretary Colin Powell talked to each other on the phone in the evening of March 21, discussing subsequent Iraqi developments.

Addressing the session of the foreign-and-defense policy council here today, Ivanov noted that Powell had phoned him in the evening of March 21. Both men mostly discussed possible Russian-US actions for the sake of deblocking the Iraqi crisis.

I don't think Powell called out of courtesy alone, Ivanov stressed. In his words, no one, military men included, can say anything about the subsequent Iraqi situation.

Ivanov inquired what will happen, if Iraq didn't surrender three days from now in line with Washington's demands. Quite possibly, the United States will then require a diplomatic intervention for the sake of stopping this war, if Iraq inflicts damage well in excess of the US Administration's estimates, Ivanov said.

The Minister reminded those present that NATO's high command had expected to complete the war against Yugoslavia in just seven days. As you remember, that military operation lasted for 78 consecutive days; but for different diplomatic games, that war would have lasted even longer, Ivanov noted.

Surely enough, Iraq is a far cry from Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. It goes without saying that one can't compare Iraqi and US military potentials. As I see it, no one doubts the fact that the United States and Great Britain will eventually defeat Iraq. However, no one apparently knows about subsequent combat operations and the ensuing global situation, Ivanov went on to say.

Quite possibly, the United States might have to ask the international community to conduct diplomatic efforts making it possible to complete the military operation in Iraq, Ivanov told his audience.