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China, Russia Discuss Post-War Reconstruction of Iraq - 2003-04-04


A top Russian diplomat says the United Nations should guide the post-war reconstruction of Iraq.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov says Moscow and Beijing will work together to protect their economic interests in Iraq.

He says the style and standards for post-war reconstruction should not be decided by the United States, but by the United Nations.

Russia is keenly interested in Iraqi reconstruction, because Russian companies have about $1 billion invested in Iraqi oil concerns. In addition, Iraq owes Moscow billions of dollars in Soviet-era debt.

The Russian envoy said Moscow and Beijing have very similar views on the Iraq issue. He repeated the Russian and Chinese plea to stop the war and seek a political settlement in a United Nations framework.

After two days of talks in Beijing with China's foreign minister and other top officials, Mr. Fedotov told journalists that it is "too early" to discuss post-war plans in detail.

The two sides also discussed the dispute over North Korea's nuclear ambitions, with both China and Russia repeating their pleas for a peaceful settlement of the issue.

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