Russian FM, Aziz Discuss Iraq-UN Relations
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz held talks on relations between Baghdad and the UN Security Council, the official INA news agency reported Tuesday.
The two men met overnight to discuss "relations between Iraq and the UN Security Council in the framework of permanent coordination and consultation between Iraq and Russia", INA said, adding that both parties agreed on their points of view.
Sanctions-hit Iraq announced at the end of the Islamic summit in Qatar on Monday an agreement with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for a "comprehensive dialogue" with the United Nations after an almost year-long stalemate.
UN Security Council Resolution 1284 passed in December last year offered to suspend the 10-year-old sanctions regime, imposed following Baghdad's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, if Iraq cooperates fully with arms inspectors.
But Iraq has said it would not work with the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC).
Aziz and Ivanov, who will deliver a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Iraq's Saddam Hussein, also discussed "regional and international issues of common interest", INA said.
The United States said Monday it believed Ivanov's visit would be a "good opportunity" for Moscow to press Baghdad on complying with UN resolutions.
Russia has repeatedly criticized the US and British force's enforcement of no-fly zones on Iraq and its frequent strikes against the country.
Several Russian planes carrying humanitarian aid and government delegations have landed at Baghdad's airport since it reopened in August, defying US and British insistence that such flights must be approved first by the UN sanctions committee.
Ivanov is in Baghdad on the first stage of a seven-day Middle East tour that will also take him to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
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