Iraq accepts U.N. resolution 1441
Iraq, facing a Friday deadline, has accepted the new U.N. resolution that will return weapons inspectors to the country after nearly four years, Iraq's U.N. ambassador said.
"The letter says that Iraq will deal with Security Council resolution 1441 despite its bad contents," Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri said Wednesday, according to AP. "We are prepared to receive the inspectors within the assigned timetable. We are eager to see them perform their duties in accordance with international law as soon as possible."
Iraq's acceptance clears the way for the arrival of an advance team of UN inspectors on Monday. It will be led by UN chief inspector Hans Blix, who is in charge of biological and chemical inspections, and Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is in charge of nuclear inspections.
Earlier, Russia's top spokesman on Iraq urged Baghdad on Wednesday to be pragmatic and accept a U.S.-drafted U.N. resolution, despite its misgivings and what Moscow called understandable popular concern.
"The language of the resolution is rather harsh, so the emotions it can stir in Iraqi society are understandable," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov told a news conference, according to Reuters.
"But we still hope the Iraqi leadership will come up with a pragmatic approach and take into account that the resolution does not include a clause on the automatic use of force."
Fedotov noted that Russia would do everything possible to ensure a peaceful solution of the standoff with Saddam Hussein over weapons of mass destruction. "The demands are sufficiently fulfillable and realistic, and most of them were agreed with the Iraqi leadership during the last round of talks in Vienna," Fedotov said.
"If there are some problems with the fulfilment of the resolution, Blix and El Baradei will come before the Security Council and it will take a decision," Fedotov said. "It will then depend on how serious the breaches are, whether they were deliberate, why Iraq was unable to meet demands," he added.
Fedotov also called on Washington to show restraint. "(We hope) the 1998 situation, when the United States struck Iraq while a report by the disarmament commission was being considered, will not be repeated," he said. "In such a situation, a strike violated international law and the authority of the U.N. Security Council."
Fedotov did not rule out the use of force but said that "Russia will continue to endeavor firmly so that the solution to this question does not go beyond the boundaries of political methods." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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