Thursday, December 17, 1998 Published at 18:14 GMT
Yeltsin demands end to strikes: Statement
Full text of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's statement on 17 December demanding an immediate end to US and British military action against Iraq:
This resulted in casualties and serious material damage. Such a development of events, which Russia has firmly opposed, gives rise to very grave concern, indignation, and deep anxiety.
The resolutions on Iraq adopted by the UN Security Council do not provide any basis whatsoever for actions of this sort.
By carrying out unprovoked military action, the USA and Britain have crudely violated the UN Charter and the universally-accepted principles of international law as well as the norms and rules governing the responsible conduct of states in the international arena.
The military strike was delivered precisely at the moment when the Security Council was discussing the Iraq problem.
This can essentially be regarded as a step that undermines the entire system of international security, of which the UN and its Security Council are the linchpins.
Russia consistently undertook intensive efforts aimed at settling the Iraq problem as soon as possible.
We remain confident that the potential for finding a political and diplomatic solution to the Iraq crisis has been far from exhausted.
This was borne out on the whole by the normal process of cooperation taking place recently between Iraq and the UN.
It is outrageous that the countries carrying out these military operations did not deem it possible to continue searching for a political settlement using political means.
The military strikes have inflicted grave damage to the immense amount of work done in recent years to bring about a post-crisis settlement in the Persian Gulf area and dismantle the potential of Iraq's mass destruction weapons and their means of delivery.
Russia demands that actions involving the use of military force should be stopped immediately, that restraint and prudence be shown and that a further escalation of the conflict be prevented because an escalation of the conflict would be fraught with the most dramatic consequences not only for finding a settlement of the Iraq problem but also for stability in the region as a whole.
A solution to the Iraq problem can be achieved only through political and diplomatic means on the basis of complying with UN Security Council resolutions and international law.
Source: ITAR-TASS news agency (World Service), Moscow, in Russian 0529 gmt 17 Dec 98
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