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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Ready to Work With UN

APItalian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi greeting President Vladimir Putin before their meeting at the Kremlin on Wednesday.
President Vladimir Putin said Russia is prepared to work with other permanent members of the UN Security Council to develop new resolutions ensuring the effectiveness of international weapons inspectors in Iraq.

Putin's statement, made after a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, came after a statement by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Fedotov that the United States' proposed resolution on Iraq is unacceptable to Russia, but the country remains willing to consider other proposals.

"From our side, I confirmed the readiness of the Russian leadership to have discussions with our partners at the United Nations and, if necessary, the necessity of reaching an additional resolution of the UN which would guarantee the work of the inspectors in Iraq," Putin said.

"All of the international community's questions and anxieties should be removed in the course of the inspectors' work, whom we are firmly convinced should be sent to Iraq as soon as possible," he said.

The statement bore echoes of the position Putin took last week after meetings with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Washington's closest ally in the push for tough measures against Iraq for its alleged development of weapons of mass destruction in violation of United Nations resolutions.

The United States and Britain have been pushing for a new resolution in the Security Council that would set stringent terms for Iraq's cooperation with UN weapons inspectors, including the use of military force if Iraq does not fulfill the new terms.

Russia, which has a veto in the Security Council, opposes including that "trigger" clause in a new resolution and favors the approach put forth by France, in which an initial resolution would set the terms, with the understanding that if Iraq does not cooperate, the Security Council could then meet for another resolution that could include authorizing military force.

Fedotov told Interfax: "The American variant of the resolution on Iraq has not undergone changes. It is unacceptable and Russia cannot support it," but the French proposal, which contains "many positions that Russia shares," is closer to the Kremlin's stance.

Iraq was expected to top the agenda in talks between Putin and Berlusconi on Tuesday.

Meeting in the Kremlin, both leaders addressed each other as "friends," with Putin also extending "the warmest hello" to Berlusconi from his teenage daughters, who spent part of the summer at the Italian's Sardinia estate, Itar-Tass reported.

The one-day trip was initiated by Berlusconi, who called Putin "a personal friend." Izvestia reported that the Italian leader's visit was only expected to last a few hours, including talks with Putin and lunch.