BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 2 September, 2002, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Russia warns of veto on Iraq
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
Ivanov: Iraq poses no threat to the US
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has said he hopes Russia will not have to use its UN Security Council veto to head off American military action against Iraq.

"We hope that the issue will not go before the Security Council... and a Russian veto will not be necessary," he said after talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri in Moscow.


We hope that the issue will not go before the Security Council... and a Russian veto will not be necessary

Igor Ivanov
Mr Ivanov warned that a US attack on Iraq could destabilise the Middle East.

The Iraqi minister's visit to Russia is part of Baghdad's drive to thwart a possible US military strike.

Russia could not see "a single well-founded argument that Iraq represents a threat to US national security", Mr Ivanov said.

"Any decision to use force against Iraq would not only complicate an Iraqi settlement but also undermine the situation in the Gulf and the Middle East," he said.

Moscow has been a strong supporter of Washington's post-11 September "war on terror" but has close links to Iraq.

Talks with Annan

Iraq and Russia recently agreed to sign an economic co-operation deal worth up to $60bn.

It will include new projects as well as the modernisation of Soviet-built infrastructure in Iraq.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri
Sabri's talks are part of a diplomatic offensive
Washington has warned that Moscow's diplomatic standing could be eroded because of its relations with regimes such as that in Iraq.

Mr Ivanov said Moscow welcomed the continuation of talks between Iraq and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan which, he hoped, would result in the return of weapons inspectors and the lifting of international sanctions.

Iraq's deputy prime minister, Tareq Aziz, told journalists in Johannesburg that he would meet Mr Annan on Tuesday.

'First step'

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that if Iraq allows UN inspectors back in to complete their assessment of its weapons industry, it will be a "first step".

US opinion poll on support for war (Source: LA Times)
Support military action - 59%
Support ground attack - 64%
Support attack only with international backing - 61%
Support ground attack with high US casualties - 45%

The comment came after Vice-President Dick Cheney said there was no point in sending weapons inspectors back into Iraq and argued forcefully for military action.

Mr Powell said the US also needed to present evidence of its suspicions about the threat posed by Iraq to the international community so that an informed judgement could be made about possible military action.

Dr Mudhaffar Amin, the Iraqi representative in London, told the BBC on Monday that Iraq would welcome UN weapon inspectors but needed top work out an agenda for them.

"We really have to sit and work out the agenda for their work," he said.

Appeal to Bush Senior

America's statements on Iraq continue to attract international criticism.

Former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa said on Monday he was "appalled".


[The US is] introducing chaos in international affairs and we condemn that in the strongest terms

Nelson Mandela
"What they are introducing is chaos in international affairs and we condemn that in the strongest terms," Mr Mandela said in Johannesburg.

"We are really appalled by any country whether it is a superpower or a poor country that goes outside the United Nations and attacks independent countries."

The former South African leader said he had contacted President George W Bush's father - George Bush Senior - and asked that he raise the matter with his son.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"Strong words from Moscow, anxious as ever to protect its trading links with Baghdad"

Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

02 Sep 02 | Middle East
31 Aug 02 | Europe
30 Aug 02 | Middle East
30 Aug 02 | Media reports
30 Aug 02 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes