A senior Russian official said Russia is pleased with a new draft resolution on Iraq that the United States is presenting Wednesday to the Security Council. But Russia still has some reservations.
In the first Russian reaction to the draft resolution, Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov said it contains some changes that take into account Russia's position.
His comments appeared in the Russian news service Itar-Tass.
But while Mr. Fedotov praised some aspects of the new draft resolution, he said Russia still has some concerns. Mr. Fedotov said Russia wants to make sure the new resolution does not contain what he described as an automatic mechanism for the use of force.
Russia has opposed two previous U.S.-backed draft resolutions on Iraq, saying they contained terms Iraq could not fulfill and authorized the use of force against Iraq if it does not comply with weapons inspectors.
The most recent U.S. resolution has not been made public but people who have seen it say it does not mention the use of force.
However, they say it does threaten Iraq with "serious consequences" if Iraq does not comply with U.N. demands and calls on the Security Council to consider any serious violations by Iraq.
Russia has been pushing for the quick return of weapons inspectors to Iraq, saying if the weapons inspectors encounter problems they should be reported to the United Nations Security Council. The council would then decide what action to take.
U.S. officials have been pushing for a strongly worded U.N. resolution on Iraq that would allow for a possible use of force if Iraq did not comply with weapons inspectors.
In September, Iraq surprised the world by agreeing to the return of weapons inspectors.
Russia, along with the United States, Britain, France and China, is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. Each of those countries has veto power over any U.N. resolution.