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US Tries to Obtain Russia's Support For UN Resolution on Iraq - 2002-09-28

A top U.S. diplomat holds talks today in Moscow in hopes of gaining support for a tough new United Nations resolution against Iraq. The U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs Marc Grossman, failed to secure agreement on the draft resolution during a similar working visit Friday in Paris.

U.S. envoy Marc Grossman is expected to face resistance during his talks Saturday with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, aimed at breaking the standoff amid permanent U.N. Security Council members over potential future international action in Iraq.

The two men, along with a senior British envoy, will be discussing a new U.S.-British resolution proposal that reportedly calls for the automatic right to use force if Iraqi President Saddam Hussein fails to cooperate fully with U.N. weapons inspectors.

On the eve of the talks, Mr. Ivanov reiterated Russia's desire to see clear proof of U.S. and British claims that Iraq is building up its arsenal in a bid to secure weapons of mass destruction.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he believes Iraq's recent agreement to allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country is sufficient enough to avoid any use of force.

Russia is one of five permanent U.N. Security Council members with veto power over any new resolution on Iraq.