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Russia/U.S.: Primakov, Albright Fail To Agree On Iraq

Madrid, 30 January 1998 (RFE/RL) - Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Madrid today that the situation in Iraq remains serious. But he emphasized that Russia still wants diplomatic methods to be pursued to end the country's standoff with the U.N. Albright told reporters that the United States' patience with Iraq is "running out."

She repeated Washington's position that diplomatic options to make Iraq cooperate with UN weapons inspectors have almost been exhausted. But Primakov told reporters that Russia remains willing to be "more patient" than the U.S.

Britain is supporting the U.S. position. The other Security Council members, France and China, have opposed the use of force in the past. But French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said after talks in Paris with Albright yesterday that his government is no longer ruling out the possibility. China has remained silent about the issue for weeks.

In Ankara, meanwhile, Turkish Vice Premier Bulent Ecevic warned that any new military strikes against Iraq should be avoided and he urged more negotiations. He accused the U.S. administration of failing to encourage dialogue, marking Turkey's first open criticism of Washington on the matter.