Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 123

Among the results of this past weekend’s G-7 summit in Denver was an agreement between the U.S. and Russia which could clear the way to the imposition of new UN sanctions on Iraq. According to a senior U.S. official, the deal was struck when U.S. president Bill Clinton appealed directly to Russian president Boris Yeltsin during their talks in Denver, and the two men then instructed U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright and Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov to work out a compromise.

On the morning of June 21 the two diplomats did just that. They agreed on language that would delay imposition of any new sanctions on Iraq for four months — a concession by Washington — in exchange for Moscow’s agreement to the principle that new measures might be taken against Iraq if the regime in Baghdad continues to defy the orders of the UN’s Security Council. The resolution, which was approved unanimously by the Security Council on the evening of June 21, would also suspend until October 11 periodic reviews to consider whether to lift any of the existing sanctions on Iraq.

The talks in Denver followed an incident earlier this month in which the Baghdad authorities barred UN weapons inspectors from two Iraqi facilities. In response, the U.S. and Britain submitted a resolution to the Security Council calling for new sanctions against Iraq, but the measure foundered on the opposition of Russia, France, and China. The Russian-U.S. compromise, which would seem to signify a diplomatic victory for Washington, forced Primakov to deny during a June 22 press conference that Russia had sold out the Baghdad regime in order to maintain harmony at the G-7 meeting. (AP, June 21; The Washington Post, Itar-Tass, June 22) Russia has long been one of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein’s most solid supporters, a policy stemming in part perhaps from Primakov’s own friendly relations with the Iraqi dictator. Concurrently, Russia has worked toward the removal of sanctions against Iraq in order to proceed with a series of lucrative Russian-Iraqi oil contracts and to allow Iraq to earn oil revenues in order to pay back to Russia large debts run up during the Soviet period.

Russian, Ukrainian Arms Sales.