International Roundtable Participants Oppose Tougher Sanctions Against Iraq

Participants in the international roundtable "Russia-Iraq. Economic Cooperation," underway in Moscow, strongly oppose tougher sanctions against Iraq. A communique wrapping up the discussion says that the United States and Great Britain intend to submit a related draft resolution to the UN Security Council on December 3, 2001. Should the Security Council adopt the document, it would be detrimental to economic interests of Iraq and Russia, warn the roundtable participants. In this case, the communique says, the realization of UN-sponsored oil-for-food humanitarian program, underlying Russo-Iraqi economic cooperation, will be suspended and Russian companies' activity frozen. As a result, Russia will lose its positions in Iraq and its influence on the situation in the Persian Gulf and in the entire Middle East. In July 2001, the UN Security Council debated a similar document, but then Russia bluntly refused to support it. Such an approach enabled Russian companies to sign additional contracts to the tune of 800 million dollars, as of October 2001. The roundtable participants have called on the Russian government to spare no effort to block the British-American draft resolution in the UN Security Council, even if they have to use their right of veto.

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