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Russia Not Planning To Send Troops To Iraq

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russia is not even considering the possibility of sending troops to Iraq.

"If the UN Security Council's resolution takes Russia's interests into account and if Russia's voice is heard, then we will fulfill the document we sign," Putin told American reporters.

He said such a document should define "the mandate of the UN forces, their tasks and the duration of the mission," he said. He pointed out that Russia has not changed its pre-war position concerning the use of armed forces in Iraq.

Regarding the military's role in peacekeeping operations, he said it does not matter who will be in charge of the forces - perhaps, the American military. "The most important thing is to define the mandate of the forces in the UN Security Council's documents, so it will be clear that the interests of all countries have been taken into account, including the interests of the Iraqi people.

Our position is more liberal than the position of other countries. Some doubt, for instance, that the situation may not be settled as long as U.S. and British troops remain in Iraq in any capacity," Putin said.

(Interfax 22.ix.03)

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