A Russian deputy foreign minister yesterday called upon Iraq to meet "scrupulously, unconditionally, and fully" all international demands that have been placed on Baghdad. His comments followed a visit to Moscow by Rolf Ekeus, chairman of the UN commission overseeing elimination of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Ekeus reportedly told Russian leaders that sanctions against Iraq were unlikely to be lifted in the near future because Baghdad has not terminated its clandestine weapons development programs. (9) Russia has been among Iraq’s most faithful boosters at the UN.
Even as the Foreign Ministry was making its statement, however, an Iraqi newspaper reported that Iraq and Russia had signed "an oil cooperation pact to rehabilitate, develop, and train cadres for service in the oil industry." The newspaper also revealed that an Iraqi delegation under the direction of a senior oil ministry official was in Moscow to discuss ways of further increasing cooperation. (10) A report appeared last week suggesting that Iraq has been offering attractive oil concessions to Russia, France, and China — all permanent members of the UN Security Council — in an effort to win the lifting of UN sanctions. (See Monitor, February 1)
The Two Faces of Gennady Zyuganov.