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Russia: Moscow Opposed To Military Campaign In Iraq

Moscow, 22 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says a military campaign in Iraq would run counter to Russia's national interests. Ivanov today said in a television interview that Russia has no intention of joining any campaign against Iraq, but added that it is "the most important thing to make sure Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction."

In Iraq, UN arms inspectors today continued their search for suspected banned weapons of mass destruction, investigating six sites. Today is the 23rd day of field searches since inspectors arrived in Baghdad on 25 November, after a four-year hiatus.

In Washington, U.S. officials said the United States has begun increasing the quality of the intelligence it is giving to United Nations weapons inspectors searching for banned weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The step comes after the chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix last week urged the United States and Britain to hand over any additional evidence they have about secret Iraqi weapons programs or suspected weapons sites.