Russia condemns recent air strikes against Iraq
Russia on Friday condemned a recent flurry of United States air strikes against Iraq, calling them counterproductive to efforts to engage Baghdad in political dialogue.
"We think that it is essential to strengthen Baghdad's will to cooperate with international organizations," Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said in a statement, according to AFP.
"Against this background, the renewed military activity in the 'no-fly zones' -- which have not been approved by the UN Security Council -- look like true dissonance and do not help regulate the situation in Iraq."
Moscow has opposed Washington's plans to oust Iraqi president Saddam Hussein from power, and refused to recognize the no-fly zones, which were imposed following the 1991 Gulf War to prevent Iraqi air forces from repressing minority Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south.
A permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia has attempted to persuade Iraq to allow UN weapons inspectors to return to the country, in exchange for a total lifting of economic sanctions. (Albawaba.com)
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