The Times Of India
October 10, 2002

No evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction:

-"That includes the well-known document published in
London....You could call it PR support for possible

LONDON (AFP): A senior aide to Russian President
Vladimir Putin has said on the eve of a visit to
Moscow by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that so
far the international community "has seen no evidence"
that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, The Times
daily reported on Thursday.
"That includes the well-known document published in
London", Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Putin's special aide
for Chechnya, was quoted by The Times as telling
journalists in Moscow.
Yastrzhembsky was referring to a dossier published by
the British government last month which claimed Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein might be only a year or two
away from possessing a nuclear bomb and could deploy
chemical and biological weapons in 45 minutes.
"You could call it PR support for possible strikes,"
Yastrzhembsky was quoted as saying.
Russians had little sympathy for Saddam, Yastrzhembsky
added, but "the UN Charter does not say the UN can
change regimes".
Blair was to travel to Russia later on Thursday for
two days of face-to-face talks with Putin.
Russia said on Tuesday it was ready to support a new
UN resolution on Iraq that would make weapons
inspections more effective in order to lift
international concerns over Baghdad's military
programme, although it was still unwilling to support
a US bid to draft a resolution that would include the
threat of force should Baghdad fail to open up all its
sites to the UN team.
"If proposals are submitted to the UN Security Council
that raise the effectiveness of weapons inspectors in
Iraq, we will support them," the Interfax news agency
quoted Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov as saying.
At the same time, Ivanov did not confirm a statement
from one his deputies issued earlier that said Russia
was ready to back a French proposal for a two-stage
ultimatum against Saddam's regime.
Russia, which is one of five permanent UN Security
Council members with veto power, had previously argued
that checks on Iraq's weapons programme could be
effectively launched under terms of existing
The Times also reported that Blair had given his
clearest signal yet that Britain would back America in
destroying Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, with
or without the support of Russia and other members of
the United Nations Security Council.
Blair has repeatedly emphasised that he wants to work
through the UN. But the Times reported that he told
the BBC World Service: "That (the UN route) is our
preference but nobody should be in any doubt that if
it isn't dealt with in that way, it has got to be
dealt with differently."
He added that while war was not inevitable, Saddam's
weapons of mass destruction would be removed "one way
or another".
Blair is to spend the night at Putin's country dacha
at Zavidovo, a one-time hunting ground for Soviet Red
Army commanders, two hours north of Moscow, with more
talks  and a joint press conference  to follow on
The trip is taking place against a backdrop of intense
consultations between the five permanent UN Security
Council member states on a new resolution to back up
UN arms inspectors when they go back into Iraq.
The United States and Britain prefer a single
resolution that would threaten an automatic recourse
to force if Saddam refuses to allow full and free
Blair has signalled, however, that Britain could live
with a French preference for one resolution on arms
inspectors, followed by another  if necessary 
authorising the use of force.


MOSCOW, October 9, 2002. /from a RIA Novosti
correspondent/. -- The actions of US President George
Bush towards Iraq are guided not by the intention to
"fight against a hotbed of international terrorism,
but only the desire to satisfy the imperial political
ambitions," reads the statement of the Russian Popular

The document stresses that "the pro-presidential US
Congress" is due to address this week the resolution,
which gives Bush the right to use force against Iraq
if necessary. In connection with this, the Popular
Party protests against the American position.
According to Gennady Raikov, the party's chairman and
the head of the People's Deputy faction, "this is an
outrageous violation of the UN Charter, an act of
international aggression against Iraq." 

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