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Ivanov: Forcing Iraq to Disarm Will Not Solve Global Terrorism - 2002-11-23

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says forcing Iraq to disarm will not solve the problem of global terrorism. Mr. Ivanov's comments come one day after the U.S. and Russian presidents issued a joint statement urging Iraq to fully comply with its disarmament obligations or face serious consequences.

Mr. Ivanov says the international community must take a coordinated and comprehensive approach to combating terrorism, which he says has acquired a global reach.

He says the goal should be to make terrorists feel unsafe, wherever they may be, and to ensure that weapons of mass destruction never fall into their hands. At the same time, Mr. Ivanov warned the international community against laboring under the false impression that settling the Iraqi problem will lead to an end to terrorism.

Mr. Ivanov made the statement after a meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, (SCO) a group formed on a common platform of fighting terrorism. Members include Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Mr. Ivanov's comments Saturday appear to have been made in order to clarify or expand upon comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday, following a brief summit in Saint Petersburg with the U.S. president.

While issuing a statement in support of Mr. Bush's Iraq policy, Mr. Putin expressed doubts about the war on terrorism.

He urged the international community not to forget about those who finance terrorists. During the talks, Mr. Putin also is said to have questioned whether U.S. allies like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were doing enough to fight terrorism.

Mr. Bush countered by citing the recent arrest of a top al-Qaida member as evidence of the U.S.-led coalition's success.