MOSCOW – Foreign Minster Igor Ivanov warned Monday the Kremlin would vote against the U.S. and British resolution that gives Saddam Hussein a March 17 deadline to disarm, news agencies reported.
This marks the first time that Russia has explicitly said it would vote against the resolution before the U.N. Security Council, but Ivanov did not use the word veto.
Within the council, if a majority of the 15 members vote “no,” Russia’s “no” would not be a veto. If a majority vote “yes,” Russia or another of the five permanent council members has the power to veto the decision thereby blocking any chance of its passage.
“In the course of the latest session of the U.N. Security Council, we did not hear serious arguments for the use of force to solve the Iraqi problem,” the Interfax news agency quoted Ivanov as saying.
“Russia believes that no further resolutions of the U.N. Security Council are necessary, and therefore Russia openly declares that if draft resolution that currently has been introduced for consideration and which contains demands in an ultimate form that cannot be met is nonetheless put to a vote then Russia will vote against this resolution,” he said, according to Interfax.
Ivanov made the remarks during a ceremony in which he received an honorary doctorate at his alma mater Moscow State Linguistics University.
Asked if Iraq could withstand a U.S. attack, Ivanov said, “Of course not.”
Ivanov added that any such U.S. military action would “lead to victims among the civilian population, to destruction and not to the resolution of those problems for which the U.N. Security Council took the appropriate resolutions.”
Russia has called for the continuation of weapons inspections, saying that largely positive reports by the head U.N. weapons inspectors to the Security Council last week have shown that Iraq is cooperating and that progress toward its disarmament is being made.
The Kremlin has warned the United States that it would consider a unilateral attack against Baghdad a mistake and a violation of the U.N. charter.