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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Slams U.S. Strikes At Talks With Iraq's Aziz




President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia opposes the continuing U.S. and British bomb attacks on Iraq and will make further efforts to get sanctions against Iraq lifted.


Putin, before meeting with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, said Russia has always opposed military strikes against Iraq. After the meeting, he said Russia would continue its opposition to the strikes.


The United Nations imposed sanctions against Iraq after it invaded Kuwait in 1990. For the sanctions to be lifted, international monitors must confirm that Iraq has gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction.


Putin said the UN weapons monitoring system was flawed and that "support for Iraq could be more effective if control were restored over the issues pertaining to weapons of mass destruction," Interfax reported.


Earlier, Aziz lashed out against the United States, saying a U.S.-backed effort to prosecute Iraqi leaders on war crimes charges was "blackmail."


As Aziz arrived in Moscow on Tuesday, a London-based group called Indict announced that it had compiled evidence to prosecute Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and several of his senior aides f including Aziz f as war criminals.


The group has received financial backing from the United States as part of a package approved by Congress to aid Saddam's opponents. The allegations include war crimes during the invasion of Kuwait, the 1980 invasion of Iran and aggression against Saudi Arabia in 1991.


Iraqi officials have consistently denied such allegations, and Aziz appeared incensed.


"The Iraqi leadership is not going to submit to this blackmail," he snapped at reporters. "We have excellent and normal relations with a majority of the nations of the world, and the idea or the opinion of the American administration toward us is worthless."


Aziz added that any war crimes tribunal would first have to indict U.S. leaders, "because they are criminals and they have killed people blatantly and deliberately."


He earlier met with Sergei Ivanov, head of Putin's advisory Security Council, and Yegor Stroyev, speaker of the upper house of parliament.


Aziz offered support for Russian efforts to combat radical Islamic groups, assailing "attempts to destabilize the situation inside Russia ... because Russia is a friend of the Arabs and a friend of the Moslems."


But Aziz did not directly address the war against Chechen militants.