Russia, Germany and France have reiterated their support for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over Iraq. The position was put forth during a series of diplomatic calls by Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of an expected vote this week on a U.N. Security Council resolution that could pave the way for war against Iraq.
President Putin's spokesman said the Russian leader stands firm in his intention to do everything in Russia's power to prevent passage of a second resolution, viewed by Russia, France and China as authorization for war against Iraq.
In a phone call with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Monday, President Putin said a peaceful resolution on Iraq is still possible, according to the spokesman, who said Mr. Schroeder agreed.
President Putin also spoke by phone with French President Jacques Chirac. Both leaders expressed satisfaction with what they characterized as support from a majority of Security Council members for continued weapons inspections.
The calls come as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says Washington is close to having enough votes to secure passage of the new resolution. It calls for Iraq to prove that it no longer has banned weapons by next Monday.