Moscow, 10 March 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (pictured) says Russia will vote against a United Nations resolution authorizing force to disarm Iraq. Ivanov said today that Russia "cannot support such a resolution" and that if it is presented to the UN Security Council, "Russia will vote against [it]." Ivanov's statement suggests Russia will veto the measure.
Russia is one of five permanent members with veto powers in the 15-member Security Council. France, another permanent member, has also warned it may veto the resolution.
The draft resolution, put forward by the United States, Britain, and Spain, would give Iraq until 17 March to disarm or face war.
Ivanov's comments come as diplomats from Britain and France are touring three African members of the Security Council, each in an attempt to gain support ahead of the vote.
Angola's foreign minister, speaking after talks with his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin, declined to say how his country will vote.
Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said he believes the United States is in "striking distance" of winning the nine Security Council votes necessary to approve the resolution.