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Russia Pushes for New UN Resolution on Iraq - 2003-08-07

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has renewed Moscow's push for a new U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq. His call for passage came during talks in Moscow with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns. Mr. Ivanov says the resolution would lend legitimacy to the U.S.-appointed Governing Council.

The Russian foreign minister says the sooner a new U.N. Security Council resolution is passed, the more likely it will be that the international community could help Iraq overcome, what he called, "a serious crisis."

Mr. Ivanov says the resolution sought by Russian officials would allow other countries to help the United States bring order and stability to Iraq. He also said it was the only way to legitimize the U.S.-installed Governing Council as the temporary governing body in Iraq.

Mr. Ivanov also urged that any new resolution set an internationally agreed time-frame for establishing a legitimate government in Iraq.

Wrapping up his talks, before heading to the Middle East, Assistant Secretary of State Burns sidestepped the Russian proposal for a new resolution. But he said both Washington and Moscow are continuing to look at how they can build on previous U.N. resolutions on Iraq.

Russia is not alone in wanting a broader U.N. mandate in Iraq, and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said a new resolution could solidify the international community behind Iraq's reconstruction. Washington's position is that the U.S.-led coalition should take the lead.

Russia strongly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, but has since been seeking to mend ties with Washington.

On the Middle East peace process, Russian and U.S. officials reaffirmed their opposition to Israel's decision to proceed with construction of a controversial security fence in the West Bank.