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Russia: Moscow To Veto UN Resolution On 'Armed Solution' On Iraq

Beijing, 28 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (pictured) says Moscow will not support a UN resolution that would "directly or indirectly open the way to an armed solution" over Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Ivanov, speaking in Beijing today, said Russia would use its veto power on the United Nations Security Council in order to maintain "international stability," though he did not refer specifically to Iraq. He said the international community must use political means to resolve the Iraq crisis. "Today we have all the necessary conditions to resolve this problem using political means. And the international community must not miss this opportunity," Ivanov said.

Yesterday, Russia and China jointly called for enhanced weapons inspections as part of a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Iraq.

The United Nations said yesterday, two days before a UN-imposed deadline, that Iraq has agreed to destroy its Al-Sumud 2 missiles. But it is not immediately clear whether this is an unconditional acceptance or whether Iraq will meet the deadline on 1 March to start the destruction. U.S. President George W. Bush said the Iraqi move is part of a "campaign of deception."

News agencies have reported that chief UN inspector Hans Blix says in a report to be submitted to the UN Security Council that the inspections aimed at disarming Iraq had produced "very limited" results.

Meanwhile, reports also say Iraq is moving its best-trained troops into new positions within the country.