Russia’s Foreign Ministry yesterday described it as “crucially important not to increase pressure on Iraq and to contribute to the course of its normal cooperation with the [UN] Special Commission in order to fulfill the resolutions of the UN Security Council in full.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin added that Russia “intends to act in this spirit.” (Russian agencies, August 4)
Rakhmanin’s comments followed reports on August 3 that talks in Baghdad between Iraqi officials and the UN’s chief arms inspector, Richard Butler, had broken off. Russia, together with France and China, have been the foremost promoters of Iraqi interests on the Security Council, and have encouraged Baghdad to believe that a phasing out of UN sanctions against Iraq might be forthcoming. But several recent developments–including the discovery of VX nerve gas on Iraqi shell canisters and a less-than-glowing report last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency–have hurt Baghdad’s chances for an early end to sanctions. (New York Times, August 4) Last week, Russia failed to overcome U.S. and British objections in its effort to win UN Security Council approval for a resolution declaring Iraq in compliance with UN demands vis-a-vis Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. (See Monitor, August 3)
RUSSIA OBJECTS TO LATVIAN BORDER SECURITY PLAN.