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Russia: Baghdad Weapons Report Creates Basis for Peaceful Resolution of Iraqi Crisis - 2002-12-09

Russian officials say Baghdad's submission of its weapons declaration creates a basis for a political rather than military resolution of the Iraq crisis.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov said Iraq's weapons declaration detailing its chemical, biological and nuclear programs creates "good grounds" for resolving the Iraqi problem peacefully.

Mr. Fedotov did not give specifics about the 12,000-page dossier now being examined by U.N. weapons experts, but in remarks to Russia's Interfax news agency Monday, he said it opened the door for a political or diplomatic resolution of the crisis.

Mr. Fedotov also reportedly said Iraq's declaration cannot serve as the basis for unilateral action against Iraq.

That remark appears to be a response to President Bush's warning that the report must hold up to scrutiny, if Iraq is to avoid military attack.

Russia, with considerable oil interests in Iraq, has long warned the United States against waging war on Iraq without going through the U.N. Security Council, where Russia has veto power.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov reiterated that sentiment in remarks to reporters in Moscow. Mr. Ivanov said Russia and other Security Council members would act strictly within the framework of security council resolutions.