26 May 200314:06



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Question: Sergei Viktorovich, the new Security Council resolution on Iraq envisages the transfer of power in the country to an Iraqi government but does not set any deadlines for the transfer. When do you think can we see in the foreseeable future the formation of an Iraqi government that would suit both Shiah and Sunni Arabs, and Kurds and is recognized by the world community? Or will Iraq be under an American-British administration indefinitely?

Lavrov: It is hard to say when it will happen. But the efforts aimed to enable the Iraqis themselves to form their own government that is recognized by the international community will now be made with the direct participation of the United Nations. There was established a post of a special representative of the Secretary General with direct access to all the Iraqi political forces and Iraq's neighbors. But when the resolution was passed the UN Secretary General stressed that the effectiveness of the work of the UN in that area, like in all other areas, including humanitarian aid restoration of the economy and infrastructure depends above all on the success in ensuring security and law and order, and this is the direct duty of the coalition forces in accordance to international law. They are indeed occupying powers, they have recognized it. And so today the UN has in fact stressed their responsibility for enforcing law and order before other issues can be effectively tackled.

Question: When may UN inspectors return to Iraq and will it happen at all? As far as we know, the American-British coalition forces have not yet found mass destruction weapons.

Lavrov: That is true. And the resolution, although the initial draft did not have it, the final resolution, upon the proposal of many members of the Security Council, including Russia expressly states that the disarmament of Iraq, in accordance with existing Security Council resolutions, should be completed and specifically UNMOVIC and IAEA inspectors are mentioned. In the coming two weeks UNMOVIC is to issue another report because UNMOVIC mandate remains and the Security Council will examine the findings that UNMOVIC has at this stage, taking into account of course, the reports coming in about the efforts of the coalition itself which so far have not yielded a result. The resolution says that the members of the coalition, in addition to UNMOVIC and IAEA must inform the Security Council on what they have managed to find out regarding mass destruction weapons.

Question: Clearly, after sanctions on Iraq are lifted, oil from that country will begin to be supplied to the world markets. Who will sell it, who will dispose of the proceeds and will the UN be in anyway involved in this process?

Lavrov: The UN will be directly involved in the supervisory and control council that is being set up under the Iraq Development Fund. That Fund will mainly consist of Iraqis and it will export oil and spend the export earnings from that oil. And the control council with the participation of the UN, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and Arab Social and Economic Development Fund will see to it that all these transactions are carried out in the interests of the Iraqi people and report back to the Security Council on their assessments.

May 26, 2003

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