| The USA committed a major political blunder by starting
the war in Iraq, Yabloko leader Grigory
Yavlinsky told the "Power and People" slot on Russian
Mayak radio on March 29, 2003.
Asked about his party's stance on the Iraqi conflict, Yavlinsky
"The USA committed a major political mistake, which is leading
to numerous casualties among civilian population and troops. TheYabloko
party believes that there was no direct threat from Iraq at the
time. Although it was not easy to carry out inspections and disarm
Iraq, there was no direct cause for starting the war.
"At the same time the official Yabloko stance is that the
regime in Iraq is very dangerous. This regime has killed hundreds
of thousands of people. This regime is politically repressive.
"We know that the United States sold biological warfare
to Iraq, in particular in 1986-88. The USA sold Iraq strains of
botulism and anthrax. We are also aware that the Soviet Union
was building major plants for the production of chemical warfare.
These war gases were used by the Baghdad regime to kill its own
"We, Russia, are interested in having neighbours that are
transparent and predictable and do not have weapons of mass destruction.
However, we believe that it was possible to evade the large-scale
military operation, the war in the form it was started by the
United States. That is why we consider the war to be a major political
Still, the Iraq war is not going to spoil Russian-American relations,
"By all means, it is in Russia's interest to preserve its
strategic relations with both Western Europe and the USA. The
war in Iraq will not act as a transition to a Cold War between
Russia and the USA, nor will it ruin Russian-American strategic
relations. This is not in our interests," he added.