Russia's deputy foreign minister, Yuri Fedotov, has noted improvements in the latest U.N. draft resolution on Iraq following intensive weekend consultations. But he says Russia still feels the draft needs more refining during further talks at U.N. headquarters in New York.
Mr. Fedotov told Russia's Interfax news agency that, after weekend talks, Russia notes "positive changes" in the latest U.S.-British draft resolution on the transfer of power in Iraq.
But before a final draft can be circulated, he said, there are some issues that require agreement among Security Council members. He declined to provide specifics before a vote that could come as early as Tuesday.
The deputy director of the U.S.-Canada Institute in Moscow, Viktor Kremenyuk, says Russia's fundamental sticking point has been about who will be in control.
?I think the key issue from the point of view of Moscow is who will be in the Iraqi administration,[in other words] to whom the United States is going to deliver or transfer powers to on June 30,? Mr. Kremenyuk said. ?[And] who will determine the composition of that administration, or who will, say, legitimize that, [the] U.N. or U.S. Russia's standing position, of course, is that it's only the U.N. who should be empowered to do that."
But Mr. Kremenyuk said he does not think the draft resolution is in any danger of not being supported in the end by Russia, which he thinks will bow to the practicality of preserving the U.S.-Russian relationship.
"Of course, this controversy [over Iraq] is one thing. But on the other part of the scales will be of course the joint interests, the common interests, of the United States and Russia that Iraq should be kept under control. It would be wrong to leave Iraq in its current situation,? Mr. Kremenyuk said. "It is unreliable, out of control, it may stir civil conflict in the country; it may stir destabilization in neighboring countries. So, the situation there should be kept under control. Both sides agree on that, the problem is how to do that."
Mr. Kremenyuk and other analysts have long said that Russia's strong opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq was never so much about Iraq itself, as it was about Russian officials' feelings that their views on global matters were being ignored.
He says that is perhaps why Russia is working so long and so hard to see that its views are taken into account now. The timing is crucial, just days before the transition of power in Iraq. Russia has insisted that Iraqi sovereignty must be genuine.