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Russian Energy Contractors Ambushed in Iraq - 2004-05-26

Workers for a Russian energy contractor in Iraq are being pulled out of the country following the killing of two employees in an ambush near Baghdad. The Russian government says security in Iraq will continue to be a problem until the country is ruled by a government its people trust.

The ambush of a bus carrying contract workers of Interenergoservice was the latest of several previous attacks in which the employees were either killed or abducted by armed gunmen.

This time the company, which is building a power station in Iraq, decided to pull all the remaining employees in Iraq, more than 230 workers, out of the country.

The Russian government has appealed repeatedly to Russian contractors in Iraq to evacuate their employees until security in the country improves.

Moscow maintains that is unlikely to happen until power is transferred to a government the Iraqi people can trust and support.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday a U.N. Security Council vote on a new Iraq resolution should not take place until the caretaker government has been unveiled. He said the resolution, drafted by the United States and Britain, needs to guarantee the legitimacy of the new government, especially in the eyes of the Iraqi people.

Viktor Kremenyuk is an analyst in Moscow with the U.S.-Canada Institute. He said that a new resolution must be reached by consensus in the international community. ?It would be better even for the U.S. as well as Iraqis if the U.N. acquires some position which will give to the whole situation the sense of some international effort, a multilateral effort,? he said.

To give the process an international dimension, Russia has proposed that those Iraqis might then attend a conference along with officials from nations in the Middle East as well as other major countries in order to confer as much legitimacy as possible before the hand-over of power.