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US delays Russian MP Iraq trip

 US delays Russian MP Iraq trip 

 South News Feb 8

 MOSCOW: United States on Saturday delayed Russian MPs visit
 of disputed Iraqi "presidential sites". 

 Viktor Cheremukhin, press secretary of the State Duma,
 Russia's lower house of parliament, told Interfax that
 Washington and London objected to the flight on grounds it
 would violate UN sanctions against Iraq. 

 As a result of the objections, Cheremukhin said the flight had
 been "delayed for an unspecified amount of time."

 Russia's lower house of parliament  on Friday accepted an Iraqi
 invitation to send a delegation to Baghdad, which is in a
 stand-off with the United Nations over arms inspectors. 

 Gennady Seleznyov, chairman of the State Duma lower
 house, told reporters the delegation, including two members
 of each major parliamentary faction.

 ``I think it was a good idea for the deputies to visit Iraq to
 see with their own eyes what the situation is like there and
 maybe their example will encourage the U.S. Congress to
 take a similar step,'' Seleznyov said.

 The Iraqi embassy in Moscow issued visas to 57 Duma
 deputies and 73 journalists to make the trip, ITAR-TASS
 said. An embassy spokesman said that Baghdad would limit
 neither the amount of time the Russian delegation would
 spend in Iraq nor its access to disputed "presidentital sites".  

 The Duma urged President Boris Yeltsin to veto any military action
 against Iraq in the U.N. Security Council and to retreat from
 international sanctions against Iraq if the United States
 launches a military strike.

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