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Friday, 1 November, 2002, 19:43 GMT
Russia says Iraq resolution closer
UN Security Council
The Council are expected to vote next week
The Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, has said the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have moved significantly closer over a new resolution on Iraq.

"We have converged on a whole series of positions," he said, without going into details of possible compromise.


We insist that in case problems come up with the inspectors' activity and Iraq violates the UN Security Council's decisions, this question be returned to the Security Council

Igor Ivanov

Russia, along with France and China, has opposed a toughly-worded United States proposal that Iraq either rid itself of weapons of mass destruction, or face the possibility of military action.

The UN's chief weapons inspector for Iraq Hans Blix has meanwhile met the representatives of the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council to discuss the draft resolution.

Key role

The BBC's David Bamford at the UN said during earlier discussions, at which the five permanent members of the Council were present, there was little time for all 10 to express their views and question Mr Blix.

The votes of the non-permanent members are vital if the amended US resolution is to be approved.

Igor Ivanov
The Russian foreign minister said differences remain

The meeting took place at the Syrian mission to the UN - Syria is regarded as the most hostile of the 10 and are expected to abstain or vote against the draft.

Of the veto-bearing permanent members of the Council France and Russia have been the leading opponents to the proposed resolution.

Mr Ivanov said the issue of the use of force is the most serious difference that still remains.

Timetable for war

Russia insists that resolution should give no-one the right to use force.

"We insist that in case problems come up with the inspectors' activity and Iraq violates the UN Security Council's decisions, this question be returned to the Security Council and be carefully examined there, in order to decide on how to proceed further," Mr Ivanov said.

Hans Blix
Chief UN inspector Blix has been meeting Council members

Mr Ivanov's comments came as Washington said it expected to see a tough new resolution approved within the coming week.

Earlier the US Secretary of State Colin Powell said the US will give weapons inspectors time to do their work in Iraq before pressing for further action against Saddam Hussein.

Mr Powell spoke on the phone with his French and Russian counterparts, Mr Ivanov and Dominique de Villepin, on Thursday in an effort to produce a compromise.

Mr Powell also said it could be a number of months before the inspectors reported back on Iraq's weapons programme.

This could throw into doubt what many analysts see as a timetable leading to war early next year.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Peter Biles
"They do appear to be narrowing the gaps and moving towards compromise"

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19 Sep 02 | Europe
29 Oct 02 | Middle East
28 Oct 02 | Americas
27 Oct 02 | Americas
23 Oct 02 | Middle East
30 Oct 02 | Politics
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