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France, Russia Accept UN Iraq Resolution - 2002-11-08


The presidents of France and Russia spoke by telephone about Iraq on Friday, and an official French spokesman said they both decided to accept the resolution that is now before the Security Council. But in Moscow, officials continue to say they are not quite satisfied with the resolution.

Just hours before members of the Security Council are scheduled to vote on the draft resolution on Iraq, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov said Russia still has concerns about the issue.

His comments were published by the Russian news service, Interfax. Mr. Fedotov said Russia would hold consultations on the draft before the voting. He did not describe what Russia's concerns are.

The deputy foreign minister did say the current draft is an improvement over previous drafts. Mr. Fedotov said the main improvement is that the automatic use of force against Iraq was scrapped.

Also on Friday, a spokesman for French President Jacques Chirac said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed in a telephone conversation that the resolution is satisfactory.

There had been concerns that Russia or France might veto the resolution, if their concerns about the potential use of force were not eased by the final draft. The draft warns of serious consequences, but does not specify what those might be.

The United States reserves the right to use force against Iraq if it does not comply with U.N. demands. But in the most recent draft resolution, the U.S. agrees to consult with the Security Council in the event of a breach, something France had been pushing for.

Once the Security Council approves the draft resolution, Iraq would have seven days to accept its terms.

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