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US Iraq Resolution 'Needs Serious Work,' says Russia

Russia's Foreign Minister says the U.S. draft resolution submitted to the U.N. Security Council contains some good ideas but it still needs "serious work." His comments indicate Moscow's willingness to work with the U.S. on Iraq yet remain firm to certain longstanding policies.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says the U.S. proposal goes some way toward allowing the United Nations to play a central role in dealing with Iraq's problems.

However he said the document still needs "further, serious work" in order to be adopted.

The Russian foreign minister was speaking at a regional meeting in the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan.

Mr. Ivanov also expressed surprise at comments made by some U.S. officials that the situation in Iraq is improving. He says Russia's view is the opposite, making the need for a new U.N. resolution more urgent.

The United States began pressing this week for a new Security Council resolution aimed at increasing international cooperation in postwar reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

But on Thursday the leaders of France and Germany both said the resolution falls far short of what is needed because it does not hand over enough authority either to the United Nations or to Iraqis. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement on Thursday.

Russia joined with France and Germany in strongly opposing the U.S.-led war in Iraq earlier this year.

However, in recent months Moscow has shown a new willingness to move closer to Washington's position, while at the same time insisting on the need to internationalize the effort to rebuild Iraq and restore security there.

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has said Moscow might contribute troops to a peacekeeping force in Iraq if a new U.N. resolution is adopted. But he also says the United States must first agree to more U.N. control in Iraq before this can happen.

The comments of both senior ministers come just a few weeks before Russian President Vladimir Putin is to meet with President Bush in the United States, where the two leaders are expected to deal personally with the Iraq issue, and several others.