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Russia: Putin Backs Iraq But Wants UN There

Moscow, 26 July 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Vladimir Putin today told visiting Iraqi Deputy Premier Tariq Aziz that the Kremlin continues to back the lifting of sanctions against Iraq. But Putin also said that Moscow's support would be more effective if Iraq abides by its UN commitments and allows weapons monitors to work unobstructed. Russia hopes the lifting of sanctions would lead Baghdad to repay billions of dollars in Soviet-era debts to Moscow.

Sanctions were imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The original UN resolutions call for the embargo to remain in place until UN monitors confirm that Iraq has dismantled its weapons of mass destruction.