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Saturday, 28 September, 2002, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Russia resists new Iraq resolution
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (left) with US envoy Marc Grossman
The US is having trouble selling its Iraq policy
A US envoy has ended talks in Moscow with no sign that he has won Russian support for a tough new draft UN resolution on Iraq.

Speaking after the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Moscow "still favours the quickest possible return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq".

We attach particular importance to the quickest possible return to Iraq of UN weapons inspectors

Igor Ivanov
Russian foreign minister

"The necessary conditions for this exist. But we are prepared to look carefully at the position of all the members of the UN Security Council," he said.

US envoy Marc Grossman is seeking backing for a resolution that would allow the United States to attack Iraq if Baghdad failed to comply with weapons inspections.

Mr Ivanov said Mr Grossman and UK Foreign Office political director Peter Ricketts argued for the resolution, and "consultations are continuing with our experts, who are noting their proposals".

Mr Grossman said he was satisfied with the consultations, and he had not sought agreement on the text of the draft resolution.

"I think it is fair to say everybody agreed there was a challenge to the United Nations, to the Security Council, and that all of us who are permanent members... want to see if we can solve it," he told reporters.

"I was very pleased to hear that."

Iraqi defiance

Earlier, Iraq rejected the proposed resolution, which the United States and Britain want passed by the United Nations Security Council next week.

Marc Grossman
US envoy Marc Grossman: "Satisfied" with Moscow talks

Russia, France and China - the other three veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council - remain to be convinced.

According to diplomats at the UN, the resolution would give Iraq seven days to accept unlimited weapons inspections.

Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan has said any move that harmed Baghdad would not be accepted.

"The stance from the inspectors has been decided and any additional procedure that aims at harming Iraq won't be accepted," he said.

Key demands
Acceptance of resolution within seven days
Declaration of arms programmes within 30 days
Access for inspectors to all sites
Armed guards to accompany inspectors
Use of military force for any non-compliance

Under the terms of the draft, if Iraq failed to comply with any aspect of the resolution's demands, "all necessary means" could be used against it - a diplomatic term for military force.

Before Saturday's talks, Mr Ivanov said there was as yet "no clear proof" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

The US envoy also made little headway on Friday in Paris, where President Jacques Chirac said he continued to support a two-step approach. China is said to support this stance.

The draft is expected to undergo changes before being put to a vote and the most intense wrangling is likely to focus on the use of military force.

On Saturday, President Bush said that the danger to the United States from Iraq was grave and growing.

Open in new window : Who backs war?
Where key nations stand on Iraq

In his weekly radio address, he said that the threats the country faced would only worsen from month to month, and to ignore them was to encourage them.

Inspections rethink

Diplomats have leaked details of the draft resolution.

weapons inspectors
The resolution would radically change the inspections process

The three-and-a-half page document opens with a statement that Iraq is already in "material breach" of UN Security Council resolutions and demands "full, final and complete destruction" of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The proposed resolution radically changes the weapons inspections process, which was broken off four years ago amid accusations that Iraq was obstructing inspectors' work.

Before inspections began, Iraq would have to produce details of any nuclear, chemical, biological or ballistic arms programmes it might have.

Iraq would have to agree to let UN weapons inspectors roam freely in their search for weapons of mass destruction, even allowing them into government buildings and mosques.

The resolution would also take away the special status of eight presidential sites.

The BBC's Nick Bryant
"American and British diplomats are pressing for a fiercely worded resolution"

Key stories





See also:

28 Sep 02 | Politics
28 Sep 02 | Americas
28 Sep 02 | Americas
28 Sep 02 | Media reports
26 Sep 02 | Americas
26 Sep 02 | Americas
24 Sep 02 | Politics
26 Sep 02 | Americas
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