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Saturday, 28 September, 2002, 00:44 GMT 01:44 UK
Russia under pressure on Iraq
Kuwait preparations
War preparations: Kuwaitis prepare for the worst

US and British government representatives are travelling to Moscow as they continue their mission to win support from the other members of the United Nations Security Council for a tough new resolution on Iraq.

Igor Ivanov:
Igor Ivanov: Call for early return of inspectors
Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, on Friday stressed the need to get UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq at the earliest opportunity.

This was interpreted in some quarters as a sign of disagreement with Washington.

In fact, taken in the context of earlier Russian pronouncements, it is an indication that the Russians and the Americans remain on the same side; it is just the emphasis which is slightly different.

By stressing the need for an early return for the inspectors, Mr Ivanov was repeating the idea voiced by his namesake, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, in Washington last week.

Long view

And if that comparison is continued, far from delaying military action, an early return of the inspectors would help the members of the UN Security Council to reach a conclusion quicker on the need for military action.

Saddam posters
Poster sellers do a swift trade of the Saddam line in Baghdad
All of this suggests that the US and British envoys will certainly have some hard talking to do in Moscow.

But they are unlikely to come up against a brick wall.

Russia wants everything to be seen to be done according to the rules of the UN.

But politically, its relationship with Washington - which President Vladimir Putin has done so much to cultivate since 11 September last year - is of greater long term importance than its cautious relationship with Saddam Hussein.

And if the Americans guarantee Russia a part in a post-conflict settlement in Iraq, most of Moscow's fears will be allayed.


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26 Sep 02 | Americas
26 Sep 02 | Americas
26 Sep 02 | Middle East
24 Sep 02 | Americas
24 Sep 02 | Americas
24 Sep 02 | Politics
26 Sep 02 | Americas
27 Sep 02 | Americas
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