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Dear all My reading of the situation is that Russia is avoiding committing itself to a veto, has been trying to intimidate US/UK into withdrawing their drafts to avoid having to veto, and is probably uncomfortable with the idea of vetoing. As paraphrased in this Reuters story, the Russians are saying they 'cannot support' the resolution. This could mean an abstention rather than a vote against/veto. The US/UK seem determined to go to a vote - will Moscow content itself with a 'good' resolution, strong statements and an abstention? On the US side, there have been reports of a certain half- heartedness, and for the Cheney/Rumsfeld axis, primarily interested in the military options, seeing Colin Powell lose out big on one of his flagship projects would be beneficial to their strengthening hold on foreign policy. They might see the demise of this softly softly negotiated path as a good thing for their NMD-tough guy approach to things. Not knowing what's going to happen 3 July adds a certain flavour to preparations for this weekend's conference in London. Cheers Mil Reuters (Yahoo) story Wednesday June 27 10:39 AM ET Russia Says Its Proposal Can Solve Iraq Arms Dispute http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010627/wl/iraq_un_russia_d c_1.html Russia Says Its Proposal Can Solve Iraq Arms Dispute MOSCOW (Reuters) - A top Russian diplomat said on Wednesday that Moscow's resolution calling for the gradual lifting of U.N. sanctions on Iraq was the only way to produce a long-term solution to the West's dispute with Baghdad. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ordzhonikidze was speaking to Interfax news agency hours after Russia rejected a U.S.-British proposal to revamp the sanctions, in force since Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The statement also coincided with a meeting between Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and a European Union (new - web sites) envoy on the Middle East. A Russian emissary later announced he would undertake a new tour of Middle East nations. Ordzhonikidze told Interfax there was no alternative t the Russian resolution, submitted during Tuesday's Security Council debate, ``if we are interested in securing a long-term settlement to the Iraqi problem.' He said Russia could not support the Anglo-American proposal, which called for an overhaul of the terms of the humanitarian oil-for-food plan under which Iraq is allowed to export oil and buy supplies under U.N. supervision. ``We cannot agree with such a draft resolution,'' he said. ''In essence, it freezes the current state of affairs, maintaining sanctions with unacceptable consequences for Iraq's people and economy in the absence of any progress on disarmament.'' Ordzhonikidze said Russia was concerned that the ``smart sanctions'' outlined in the U.S.-British proposal could hurt the economies of many countries, including Russia. Moscow, he said, intended to press o with the draft at the United Nations (news - web sites), where a July 3 deadline has been set for the U.S.-British proposal. The Anglo-American draft would ease U.N. controls on civilian goods entering Iraq and tighten enforcement o military supplies. It would also try to stem Iraq's smuggling routes. Tuesday's debate has left the Security Council at an impasse. Diplomats expected an extension of the curren sanctions regime on July 3, but are uncertain for how long and whether any changes would be introduced. Russian ambassador Sergei Lavrov told the Security Council that the Anglo-American resolution ``cannot go through.'' ``The deeper we go into detail, the greater the doubts we have that this draft is workable...in terms of a long-term Iraqi settlement,'' Lavrov said. A Foreign Ministry statement said Russia and the European Union believed tension had eased in the Middl East. They called for ``further efforts for its normalization,'' based on the plan drafted by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell. Russian envoy Andrei Vdovin told Interfax he would leave on Thursday for a trip including stops in Israel the Palestinian Authority (news - web sites), Egypt an Jordan. He would remain in the region ``as long as necessary.'' Vdovin undertook a Middle East trip earlier this month and Ivanov has also toured the region in recent months. ENDS Milan Rai Joint Coordinator, Voices in the Wilderness UK firstname.lastname@example.org 29 Gensing Road, St Leonards on Sea East Sussex UK TN38 0HE Phone/fax 0845 458 9571 local rate within UK Phone/fax 44 1424 428 792 from outside UK Pager 07623 746 462 Voices website http://viwuk.freeserve.co.uk -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk