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Russia to Vote Against US Proposal at UN - 2003-03-10

Russia has toughened its stance against an effort by Britain, the United States and Spain to win Security Council approval of a new resolution authorizing war against Iraq.

Until now, Russian officials have never said directly how they planned to vote on a new draft resolution on Iraq, only that they would exercise all options in their power.

But Monday, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Russia would vote no if the draft comes up for a vote in the Security Council this week.

Mr. Ivanov says Russia remains unconvinced about the need for a new resolution and believes continued international weapons inspections are bearing results.

Russian officials say the proposed resolution, which calls for Iraq to prove it no longer has banned weapons by next Monday, or face war, is unattainable, unjustified and dangerous.

Mr. Ivanov also dismissed U.S. efforts to bring about regime change in Iraq as doomed to failure. He went on to say that forcing democracy and a single model of the world is impossible in Russia's view.

Tuesday, Mr. Ivanov heads to Iran for talks that are expected to focus on the Iraqi crisis.

On Monday, another Russian official, State Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov, was dispatched to Baghdad to meet with key Iraqi officials. Russia's Itar-Tass news agency quotes Mr. Seleznyov as saying it is necessary to exert maximum effort to convince the United States of the view shared by Russia, France and Germany: that there is still a chance for peace.