- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 1, 2003

TUNIS, Tunisia, March 1 (UPI) — Russia's parliamentary speaker Saturday blasted the United States' policy towards Iraq, the region, and the world, warning that his country would use its veto power in the U.N Security Council to prevent a war on Iraq.

Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev said at a news conference that proposals calling for the Iraqi leadership's ouster were "ridiculous."

Unilateral U.S. action against Iraq would represent "radical political changes on the global level and would lead to the destruction of international law, the U.N and the Security Council," Seleznev said.

Speaking at a news conference in Tunis after a three-day visit, Seleznev said these actions called for "serious thought for establishing alternative international bodies to the U.N. that could guarantee global security, especially that Russia and the rest of the world strongly reject the return to the laws of the jungle where the strong eats the weak."

Countries cannot change regimes just because they don't like them, Seleznev told reporters. The current U.S. unilateralist slant is a "serious trend that needs to be confronted and to affirm that the people alone have the right to change their own regimes," he said.

The Russian legislator said his country would use its veto power as one of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members to knock down any U.S. resolution allowing the use of force against Iraq for its failure to disarm.

He also criticized the United States for adopting "double standard policies, where Iraq is asked to apply Security Council resolutions while Israel publicly rejects implementing resolutions regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict."

He added that Washington "does not hesitate in imposing sanctions on Iraq on the excuse that it possesses weapons of mass destruction, and does not do the same to Israel, which does own WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and refuses to accept U.N. resolutions."

Former U.S. administrations, displeased with Cuban President Fidel Castro's regime, "had to eventually tolerate his presence and were able to co-exist with his authority. So this suggestion (to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein) is ridiculous and does not deserve discussion," Seleznev added.

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