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Radio Mayak, March 29, 2003

Grigory Yavlinsky: the Iraqi war will not spoil US-Russian ties

BBC Monitoring

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 stated:

"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 people.

"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 blunder".

Still, the Iraq war is not going to spoil Russian-American relations, Yavlinsky said.

"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.


See also:

Situation Around Iraq

Radio Mayak, March 29, 2003

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