- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2003

MOSCOW, Feb. 7 (UPI) — Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Friday that Moscow opposes a second U.N. Security Council resolution that would authorize military action against Iraq.

Ivanov said there is currently no need for such a measure, insisting the crisis can still be resolved politically.

"We see no basis for adopting a U.N. Security Council resolution that would open the way for the use of force against Iraq," he said.

Ivanov's comments came one day after President George W. Bush challenged the United Nations Security Council to back up its words with deeds in the showdown with Iraq if it wants to retain international credibility.

"The game is over," he said of Saddam Hussein's cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game with U.N. weapons inspectors searching for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam, he said, would continue with new ploys to stall and deceive the international community, but time for action had come.

Many of America's Western European allies — Germany and France, for example — oppose force and want international inspectors to continue their work in Iraq indefinitely. Also against military action is China, which along with Russia and France hold veto power on the council and could thwart any U.S. hopes of gaining a new resolution specifically authorizing the use of force. Washington does not believe it needs the resolution, but some countries are hedging their participation in a "coalition of the willing" on such a document.

The United States argues that a new Security Council resolution is not needed to authorize force to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, but many other countries are pushing for such a resolution before committing themselves to action.

Bush said the United States will agree to a strong, new U.N. resolution that compels Saddam to disarm, but the United States will not wait for the Iraq to comply. Bush challenged the United Nations to act.

In November, the 15-member Security Council voted unanimously for Resolution 1441, which finds Iraq in material breach of earlier disarmament mandates and invokes unspecified "serious consequences" for any new failure to cooperate fully with weapons inspectors.

The European Union on Thursday welcomed U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's case against Hussein, but remained deeply divided over how to disarm the Iraqi dictator.

(With contributions from White House Correspondent Richard Tomkins)


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