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Posted by andreas from dtm2-t7-1.mcbone.net (62.104.210.76) on Saturday, February 22, 2003 at 5:40PM :

In Reply to: Oddly Enough - Reuters posted by Jeff from d53-251-230.try.wideopenwest.com (64.53.230.251) on Saturday, February 22, 2003 at 5:00PM :

Hi Jeff,

Sifting the (original) Russian (language) press today I got so far an impression which is a little bit different from that AP report below saying that:

"Duma ... called .. for legislators from around the world to meet in Baghdad next month to discuss how to stave off a U.S. attack on Iraq "

In my understanding from Russian papers the Duma called for legislators from around the world to come to Baghdad not to discuss but to act as human shields.

But, I'll check that out 'cause there might be a lot of political motivated vagueness playing in.

Anyway and both ways: An idea as odd as good.

============

Russia's Duma calls for worldwide meeting in Baghdad to stave off attack

By Associated Press
February 22, 2003

MOSCOW The lower house of the Russian parliament called on Friday for legislators from around the world to meet in Baghdad next month to discuss how to stave off a U.S. attack on Iraq a dramatic idea that seemed unlikely to materialize.

The call was part of a resolution that also said a U.S. attack without U.N. consent "would be a gross violation of the generally recognized principles and norms of international law."

The measure, passed by a 377-1 vote in the 450-seat State Duma, called for countries to send parliamentary representatives to Baghdad on March 4-7 to discuss the work of weapons inspectors in Iraq, "and for the development of a unified opinion on the situation and discussion of an array of measures averting U.S. military aggression against the Republic of Iraq."

The Duma often makes dramatic statements on world affairs but has limited influence on Russia's foreign policy. However, the declaration reflected growing strains between Moscow and Washington over Iraq.

There was no immediate response from other governments to the proposal, which had not been publicly floated previously.

It seemed unlikely the Duma would try to implement the idea. There was no discussion of the resolution before the vote, and the Duma did not designate a delegation to attend the proposed meeting. Lawmakers are due to travel to their districts next week, so the chamber won't have a chance to return to the issue soon.

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations said a plan by the United States and Britain to seek a new Security Council resolution on Iraq is misguided, according to a newspaper interview published Friday.

The U.S.-British resolution is expected to be put forth Monday in the Security Council in a bid to gain support for using force to disarm Iraq. But many countries on the council say the move should be held off at least until a report by weapons inspectors in mid-March.

"Since Iraq is cooperating more actively with U.N. inspectors and responding to their specific requests and proposals, there is no need for the U.N. Security Council to adopt a new resolution," the newspaper Vremya Novostei quoted Ambassador Sergei Lavrov as saying.

Asked what Russia's position will be if the new resolution is introduced, Lavrov said, "It depends on what is written in it."



-- andreas
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