Posted on Thu, Mar. 20, 2003
Putin Demands Swift End to War With Iraq
MOSCOW Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded on Thursday that the United States quickly end its attack on Iraq and said the use of military force against Saddam Hussein was not justified.
"Russia demands the swiftest end to military action," Putin said at the start of a meeting with top officials. "The military action against Iraq is a big political mistake."
Putin restated his belief that military action was not necessary to enforce United Nations resolutions calling for Saddam to be disarmed. Russia has stood with France and Germany in opposition to U.S. efforts to win U.N. approval of war with Iraq, saying weapons inspectors were making progress.
"The military action in Iraq is being conducted in spite of world opinion, in spite of the principles and norms of international law and the U.N. Charter," Putin said. "This military action cannot be justified."
In the face of a certain French veto and threats of one from Russia, Washington on Monday withdrew a resolution it had put before the Security Council seeking its sanction to attack Iraq.
Putin said the Security Council should quickly address the crisis. The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, gave preliminary approval to an appeal for a special U.N. General Assembly session on Iraq.
A communist-backed draft had called for providing weapons to Baghdad, ending U.N. sanctions and suspending ratification of a key U.S.-Russian arms treaty, but that draft failed.
Security was increased at nuclear power plants, industrial plants that handle toxic material and foreign embassies "in case of an increased terrorist threat," the Interfax news agency said, citing an unnamed ministry official.
Russia made plans to help Iran in receiving refugees and to equip Iranian-built camps. Russia planned to send two cargo planes to the western Iranian city of Kermanshah with tents, beds, blankets and stoves, Interfax reported.
Russians still in Iraq were expected to try to leave Baghdad through Iran.
About 200 people, mostly communists and nationalists, held an anti-war protest across from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. And on the snowy streets some Russians compared the Iraq war to Russia's war in Chechnya, saying many people would be killed for very little change.
"There is no humanitarian purpose here. The interests are mainly economic - oil, for the most part," said Alexei Barenov, an interior designer.
How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?
The WorldPeace Banner
To the WorldPeace Peace Page