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Grigory Yavlinsky: Russia's priority in the situation around Iraq should be guarantees of security for the citizens of Russia and the neighbouring regions

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"Russia should support the containment and erosion of the Iraqi regime but resist a precipitous Anglo-American war." Russia's vital interests in the Iraqi conflict lie in guaranteeing security for the citizens of Russia and stability of neighbouring regions, rather than in setting a price for its support for America or in propping up the oil price. This position was expressed by the leader of the Russian Democratic Party YABLOKO Grigory Yavlinsky in an article "Russia should join a cold war on Iraq" published by the Financial Times (UK) on Friday, 7 March 2003.

According to Yavlinsky, war with Iraq can only be avoided, if the supporters of the war and their opponents reach a compromise. Such a compromise would make it possible in long-term to station a powerful international military contingent along the Iraqi borders, which would enable the UN inspectors to perform their work effectively. Today a modern analogue of the "cold war", rather than a real war against Saddam Hussein is required. Such an approach can be used with the regimes of other dictators, who are trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

Yavlinsky sharply criticised the position of some Russian politicians and businessmen who advocate Russia's consent to the military operation in Iraq in exchange for guarantees over the repayment of Iraq's USD8 billion Russian debt and due account of Russia's economic interests in the country. Yavlinsky called such policies "mercantile". Russia's "true national interests are not served by western hand-outs, but are instead more served by far closer co-operation with the West and above all with the US, in international security and the war against terrorism," writes Yavlinsky.

Earlier, on February 25, 2003, the Financial Times published an article on Iraq by the leader of the Union of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) Boris Nemtsov and the head of the London representative of the SPS Vladimir Kara-Murza, who expressed a differentpoint of view. The SPS leaders noted in particular that "Russia's attitude towards Iraq ispragmatic. To be more precise: its interests are economic. By recognising those interests as legitimate, and by making clear they could be furthered by the removal of the Ba'athist dictatorship, the Anglo-American coalition could win over Russian support. The first and perhaps easiest issue to resolve is Iraq's USD8 billion debt to Russia," noted the SPS leaders.


See also:

Financial Times (UK).6 March 2003. Russia should join a cold war on Iraq. By Grigory Yavlinsky

Situation Around Iraq

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