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UN Should Not Require Force in Iraq, says Senior Russian Official - 2002-10-08

A senior Russian official says a new United Nations resolution on Iraq should not require the use of force and should not include measures Iraq cannot fulfill.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov says a U.N. draft resolution on Iraq drawn up by France closely mirrors Russia's position. His comments were published by the Russian news agency Interfax.

Mr. Fedotov criticized a tougher draft resolution proposed by the United States that calls for more intrusive weapons inspections of Iraq and the use of force if Iraq does not comply. The Russian official said the U.S. proposal contains demands Iraq cannot satisfy.

Interfax quoted Mr. Fedotov as saying a possible U.N. resolution should include three elements. It should be based on previous U.N. resolutions, should not require a use of force, and should not include elements Iraq cannot fulfill.

The deputy foreign minister also repeated Russia's assertion that weapons inspectors should be allowed back into Iraq as soon as possible.

Monday, President George Bush condemned Saddam Hussein as a "murderous tyrant" who may be planning attacks against the United States.

The Bush administration has been pushing the United Nations to take action against Iraq, saying Saddam Hussein is trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Russia is one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council with veto power over a new resolution. The other permanent members are France, the United States, Great Britain and China.

Mr. Fedotov also said Russia encouraged France to include in its resolution a provision that would link the resumption of inspections with the eventual lifting of sanctions against Iraq.

The United Nations imposed sanctions on Iraq after the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait in 1990. It was then driven out by a U.N. coalition.

Last month, facing growing international pressure, Iraq said it was willing to have weapons inspectors return to the country.