RUSSIAN-AMERICAN CONSULTATIONS ON IRAQ

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RUSSIAN-AMERICAN CONSULTATIONS ON IRAQ

Izvestia, December 20, 2001, p. 2

Wolf brought to Moscow an impressive list of 500 pages. Moscow and Washington should come to an agreement on the list by the next UN Security Council meeting on Iraq, scheduled for spring 2002 – a meeting expected to settle the issue of replacing the existing sanctions against Iraq with “smart” sanctions, which the United States and Britain insist on.

A month ago, Moscow essentially agreed with what Washington and London proposed; but insisted that the duration of UN monitoring should be specified. Should UN inspectors fail to find proof that Iraq has mass destruction weapons, the procedure of abolishing sanctions should be initiated.

Baghdad was not impressed with the flexibility of Moscow’s position. Its foreign minister made it clear that Iraq would not permit any foreign observers on its territory under any conditions.

The United States took this as an indirect confirmation of its suspicions. The other day the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress passed a resolution which stated plainly that “Iraq will be held accountable for producing weapons of mass destruction unless it permits foreign observers.”

Two American magazines, New Yorker and Newsweek, reported on the eve of Wolf’s visit to Moscow that the US Administration was discussing plans for a military operation in Iraq.

Wolf’s interlocutors in Moscow are trying to prevent such developments.

DEFENSE MINISTER SERGEI IVANOV IN BRUSSELS

Izvestia, December 20, 2001, p. 4

NATO defense ministers met in Brussels to discuss the counter-terrorism operation in Afghanistan. The meeting ended in passing on recommendations to NATO officials and committees to “bolster cooperation”, “continue efforts”, “study” the effectiveness of the use of what mechanisms and instruments NATO had, “and reporting” on it.

Military sources say that all major agreements are being made through bilateral contacts. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld attended a great many such meetings. He had two meetings, formal and informal, with Ivanov. Ivanov also met with his German, French, and Polish counterparts. He is meeting with his British counterpart in London today.

While preparing Ivanov’s meeting, the Belgians suggested that he speak at the Royal Military Institute. He did not object. Ivanov talked of threats to European security and the need to work out a European strategy for crisis prevention; he advocated intensive use of political instruments and international law. Russia still advocates leaving the instrumental role in crisis management to the United Nations.

Ivanov will spend three days in London and meet with President Vladimir Putin there.

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