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Russia Reported Disappointed with Draft Iraq Resolution - 2002-10-22

Reports in Russian media say Moscow is disappointed with a new draft resolution on Iraq being circulated by the United States. U.S. and U.N. officials are in Moscow for talks about Iraq.

News agencies are reporting that Russian officials believe the new Iraq draft resolution proposed by the United States is too similar to previous U.S. and British proposals.

The reports ran on Russia's Interfax and Itar-Tass news agencies.

According to Interfax, sources in Moscow say they are disappointed because the latest version fails to live up to American promises to find a compromise with other U.N. member countries.

The new draft has not been made public, but diplomats say it does not explicitly give the United States the automatic right to use force if Iraq fails to comply with tougher guidelines for weapons inspections.

But it warns of serious consequences if the inspectors report problems. Diplomats say that may be enough to provide Washington with legal cover if it decides to strike Iraq on its own.

Russia has objected to any resolution that includes the automatic use of force, saying the issue must first go back to the U.N. Security Council.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary of State John Bolton is in Moscow for talks with Russian officials.

Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov said Monday, after talking to Mr. Bolton, that the American warnings about possible use of force are making the world more tense.

Mr. Mamedov said American statements about the axis of evil and the new military doctrine of preventive strikes is making the situation more tense.

President Bush has called Iraq, along with North Korea and Iran, a member of an "axis of evil," saying it is trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. Iraq denies these accusations.

But last month, in a surprise move, Iraq invited weapons inspectors back into the country.

The chief U.N. weapons inspector, Hans Blix, is also in Moscow for talks with Russian officials about inspections preparations.