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Russia Not Budging on Iraq, says Senior US Official - 2003-02-25

A senior U.S. official visiting Moscow says the United States hopes to gain Russian support for a new U.N. resolution on Iraq, but has had no success.

Undersecretary of State John Bolton says Russia still does not support a resolution on Iraq sponsored by Britain, the United States, and Spain. "I did not detect any shift in their position," he said.

But the American diplomat said he still sees plenty of room for negotiation between Russia and the United States on the Iraq issue.

"Today was not the first and I am sure will not be the last in these diplomatic discussions," he said.

Mr. Bolton's visit is part of U.S. efforts to garner support for a U.N. Security Council resolution saying that Iraq has failed to meet its obligations to get rid of weapons of mass destruction. Such a resolution would be seen as an authorization for military action against Iraq.

But Russia has said it supports a separate French initiative, that would call for more and tougher weapons inspections instead of military action. Russia is one of five permanent members of the Security Council and it has the power to veto any U.N. resolution.

Mr. Bolton said while he did not get the answer he wanted from the Russians, few people believed the United States would get support for an earlier resolution on Iraq. He noted that in the end, such a measure was approved unanimously by the Security Council late last year.