Putin sets forth Russia's concept on Iraqi problem

The timeframe for settling the situation in Iraq will depend on the content of the new resolution of the UN Security Council on Iraq, said Vladimir Putin at the meeting with the students of Columbia University on Thursday.

In the opinion of the President, the resolution should meet a number of demands. In particular, he believes, it must be "a thoroughly thought out document Iraqis will trust." Apart from that, believes the Russian leader, this document must be adopted by the leading states in the region. It will have to prove that the international community has really united and wants to help Iraq restore its sovereignty and consolidate its place in the world.

At the same time, said Vladimir Putin, if these requirements are not observed, if in particular the heads of the leading Arab states do not believe the resolution, the settlement, even in this case, "will take place, but it will take much more time." "We shall talk about it with US President George Bush," said Putin. He pointed out: "I have already said the most important thing," but many details still remain. "Our relations are close and confident, and we shall try to discuss in detail how to find the golden mean," said Putin.

He also called for prevention of a situation in Iraq similar to that in Chechnya several years ago. "After Russia recognized the independence of Chechnya de facto, the vacuum was immediately filled with destructive Moslem radical organizations," the Russian President reminded the audience.

"This fact must be taken into consideration in settling the situation in Iraq," believes the Russian head of state.

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