Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 2, 2002, p. 6

The new autumn political-diplomatic season in Moscow is being opened with an important Russia-Germany meeting. Johannes Rau, German President is coming to the capital this evening. This is an answer to last September’s visit of Russian President to Germany. That time Vladimir Putin amazed everybody by his remarkable speech in German. The official part of this visit is to begin with ceremonial welcome in the Great Palace of the Kremlin.

Johannes Rau is one of the postwar generation officials active at the present time. In the mid ’50s he was one of the founders of Gesamtdeutsche Volkspartei (GVP). After its self-dissolution, political career of Rau has been connected with Social-Democrats. He was the deputy chairman of Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDPG), and in 1987 the party named him as their candidate for the post of Chancellor of Germany. More than 20 years he had headed the government of the biggest federal “Land”, North Rhein Westphalia, and in 1999 he became the President of Germany.

This is the first and the last visit of Johannes Rau to our country as the Federal President, while the protocol rules of the German head allow only a single visit to another capital.

This fact coincides with the peak of the election campaign in Germany. There is no connection, but the complicated election situation will be one of the subjects during this meeting. The talks on the current issues of interrelations between the countries are also expected.

The results of the elections in Germany are not insignificant for Moscow, but unlike the previous time our government tries to show diplomatic neutrality. All the same, the early transfer of 175 million euros, representing the second part of Russian repayments, to Berlin, made by Kremlin is somewhat like a present to Gerhard Schroeder. The point is to clear Russian debts from trade with the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany). The total sum of debts was announced by Putin and Schroeder in April as being 500 million euros. At the present time this sum may be spent on Elbe flood disaster relief and rebuilding, and, as it is noted in the German Press, “it doesn’t look bad, considering the election campaign”.

A big program, not mentioning meetings and talks, is planned for Rau in the Kremlin. In particular, he is to give a talk to the students of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. The visit ends on the 5th of September in Novgorod.


Izvestia, September 3, 2002, p. 2

Iraqi Foreign Minister Nadzhi Sabri arrived in Moscow on a short work visit on Monday. Nobody in Moscow and in Baghdad commented on the fact that he came to Russia when according to Saddam Hussein, the people of his country “are going to win or die for the freedom of their motherland”. The Iraqi embassy clarified this matter to “Izvestia”.

“This visit is a part of our diplomatic efforts in order to enlist the support of Russia, EU and Moslem countries against the US anti-Iraqi military action. The US intends to enter the question of its probable assault on the agenda of the UN. The problem concerning relations between Iraq and the UN will be the key-point of the meeting with Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Igor Ivanov,” Iraqi Ambassador Abbas Khalaf Kunfud said to “Izvestia”.

The ambassador hopes that “Moscow will give political support to Baghdad in view of the possible outbreak of hostilities.” “In spite of all the international sanctions, Russia has never broke off the relations with our country,” Abbas Kunfud stressed. At the same time, he assured our newspaper of the fact that his government didn’t worry about the meetings of the Russian diplomats with the Iraqi opposition in Washington. “Such meetings don’t influence the bilateral relations,” the ambassador said. The Defense Ministries of both countries said the same on Monday. “These contacts don’t mean that Russia has changed its opinion concerning the settlement of the Iraqi issue. We hope that the question of the probable US assault will not be entered on the agenda in the UN Security Council and Russia will not have to use its veto,” Ivanov said.

According to our sources, Nadzhi Sabri will not discuss the Russian-Iraqi contracts to the amount of $40 billion in detail. “This program has not been officially signed yet,” our Iraqi embassy source said.


Izvestia, September 3, 2002, p. 2

Professor Georgiy Mirsky: It is too early to think that George Bush is sure to attack Iraq. Nothing has been decided yet. I think it would be better for him to refrain from hostilities. Saddam Hussein could strike Israel with chemical or biological weapons. Israel would answer with the nuclear attack and all the anti-terrorist coalition could be ruined. It will be useful for Bush to make Hussein let in the international inspectors without any hostilities. Then Bush can say that his very persistence and threats made the Baghdad dictator capitulate. The Russian representatives can explain to the Iraqi Defense Minister what favorable prospects can open up for Baghdad in case of the peaceful settlement of the Iraqi-US confrontation.