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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Deal on UN Resolution Over Iraq

APForeign Minister Igor Ivanov greeting Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday failed to convince Russian leaders to support an immediate end to UN sanctions on Iraq, with Moscow insisting that UN weapons inspectors return first to Baghdad.

Two weeks after British Prime Minister Tony Blair returned empty-handed to London after a similar mission, Powell said the two sides would continue to try and reach a compromise but there was little sign of common ground.

Powell said he and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov would "be working closely in the days ahead on the resolution that is pending before the UN to see if we can come into agreement with our other Security Council partners."

"We have described our position to each other, there are outstanding issues," he told reporters after meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

Powell said Washington did not agree with Moscow that UN inspectors should be allowed back to Iraq to certify that it has no weapons of mass destruction before the sanctions regime can be removed. "We did not resolve that," he said.

The UN Security Council is on Thursday to discuss a draft U.S. resolution that would lift sanctions imposed after the 1991 Gulf War and enable Washington and its allies to effectively run the country and control its oil revenues for at least a year.

Moscow's position is broadly backed by France and China, fellow veto-wielding members of the Security Council that also opposed the U.S.-led invasion.

Ivanov, speaking at the same news conference, denied that Russia was blocking much-needed reconstruction of Iraq. "We want to continue to work in a constructive spirit," he said, adding that Moscow was not slowing things down "by creating artificial barriers."

Powell, whose visit comes ahead of an informal summit between U.S. President George W. Bush and Putin in St. Petersburg on June 1, said Moscow and Washington were ready to turn a new page following their split over the Iraqi crisis.

Putin in his talks with Powell also said Moscow and Washington would continue to cooperate on the war on terror and other crisis spots like Afghanistan and North Korea.

"I hope the upcoming meeting with President Bush will be a further impetus for the successful development of our bilateral relations in all areas," he said.

Powell said the two sides had discussed Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran, which is another prickly issue. Washington accuses Tehran of using civilian nuclear technology to develop nuclear weapons.

"With respect to Iran, we had a full discussion about our mutual concern about their nuclear program," he said. "I think we have a better understanding of one another's concerns and we have come a little closer as to how we should deal with our concerns."