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Iraq Diplomacy Has Not Run Its Course, says Russia Foreign Minister

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Moscow disagrees with the United States and others that the time for diplomacy on Iraq has ended.

Foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko dismissed as groundless claims that diplomacy on Iraq has run its course. As if to underscore the point, Mr. Yakovenko said Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was traveling to New York to attend a scheduled U.N. Security Council meeting about Iraq on Wednesday.

In addition, Russia's parliament, the Duma, announced it has postponed indefinitely a scheduled vote on ratification of a major nuclear weapons treaty with the United States.

The deputy head of the parliament's committee on international affairs, Sergei Shishkariov, said the Duma decided to delay the vote because of, what he called, unprecedented pressure on Russia and other nations seeking a peaceful settlement on Iraq. He said the treaty's ratification will depend on how seriously the United States takes Russia's views on Iraq.

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved the treaty more than a week ago.