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Iraq: France, Russia Call On Baghdad To Destroy Missiles

Paris, 26 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- France and Russia today called on Iraq to destroy its banned Al-Sumud 2 missiles in line with an order from United Nations weapons inspectors. In Paris, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said after meeting with his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini that Iraq should cooperate with the inspectors on the missile issue.

Andrei Granovskii, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department for International Organizations, said in Moscow that Russia expects Iraq to "take a series of useful steps," including the destruction of the missiles.

Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has ordered Iraq to start destroying the missiles by 1 March.

Meanwhile, a debate on Iraq in the British parliament is continuing, with Prime Minister Tony Blair saying there will be support in the UN Security Council for a resolution authorizing force to disarm Iraq. "I believe that we will have support for a second resolution, and I don't think it's helpful to speculate on what might or might not happen," Blair said.

In Paris, French President Jacques Chirac said after meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar that it is "still possible" to disarm Iraq peacefully through continuing inspections.