Russia’s position in reinforcing the legal grounds of world order
TRANSCRIPT OF RUSSIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IGOR IVANOV INTERVIEW ON THE ROSSIA TELEVISION CHANNEL'S NEWS OF THE WEEK PROGRAM, NOVEMBER 9, 2002
Unofficial translation from Russian
Question: Should Saddam Hussein reject the resolution, will war begin?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: First of all I would like to stress that the resolution has been adopted by the UN Security Council unanimously. This is very important because in the final analysis the implementation of this resolution meets the interests of Iraq itself and of the people of the country, since from the resolution it directly follows that meeting all of its terms presupposes a lifting of the sanctions on Iraq. Therefore we would like to hope that Iraq will regard positively this resolution and will fully cooperate with the UN in its implementation. But if what you're asking about occurs then, as provided by the resolution itself, a new meeting of the Security Council will be held which will determine how we are going to act in this situation.
Question: That is to say, no automatic strike against Iraq will follow?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: Absolutely right, this was one of the main conditions put forward by Russia that this resolution would give no one the power for an automatic use of force.
Question: Who of the permanent members of the UN Security Council made concessions?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: Any resolution, particularly such a complicated one as this - 1441- is a compromise. Everyone made concessions. But the main thing is that we have reached understanding on issues of principle. The concessions were there, but not of a principled nature. Russia immediately raised the issue that this resolution must aim to ensure the international inspectors' efficient work. This follows from the resolution. Russia had sought to make certain there would be no automatism in the use of force if such a situation arose - there is no automatism. Russia had insisted that the resolution must reaffirm respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and that this resolution must ultimately lead to a comprehensive settlement of the situation around Iraq, which presupposes the lifting of sanctions. Therefore on all these principled stands we upheld our interests.
Question: Were all the points which did not suit Russia excluded from the text of the resolution?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: There are a whole series of terms which perhaps are not all that important but at the same time, it seemed to us, would best have been avoided. There are a number of demands which very toughly place before Iraq the need to fulfill some or other obligations. I repeat, this is a harsh resolution for Iraq but it is the resolution which opens the way not to war, but to peace. Therefore this compromise was fully justified.
Question: Russia used its influence on the Arab world? Syria is known to have supported the resolution.
Foreign Minister Ivanov: We were closely cooperating with the Arab states. That it was possible to get the consent of Baghdad to the return of international inspectors without any preliminary conditions was the exact product of close cooperation by Russia with the Arab states and a whole variety of other nations. The Arab League contributed substantially to finding the appropriate solutions. Now the Arab countries also face the serious task of convincing Baghdad to accept this resolution. We hope that in close coordination with the Arab countries we'll be able to achieve this objective as well.
Question: Were consultations with the leadership of Iraq conducted?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: We were constantly in touch with the Iraqi leaders, informing them of the most complicated work which was being conducted on the resolution. In great detail we informed Baghdad why this resolution was currently needed and why from our point of view it met the interests of, above all, Iraq and the Iraqi people. I repeat why - because this isn't a way to war but rather a way to peace. And we are confident that Iraq is interested precisely in a political settlement of the situation.
Question: Whose version of the resolution was adopted in the end?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: I hold this is the version of all 15 Security Council members. Those are not general words. The most complicated work on editing the text was carried out; it had been going on for two months, beginning with the first half of September. As a result it was possible to reach a compromise which takes into account the interests of all countries.
Question: How intensively did consultations go between the leaders of the countries? It was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin had conversed with the leaders of a number of states by telephone?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: Consultations went in the last few days very intensively at the level of leaders of the states which are permanent members of the Security Council. They were being held not in general terms but rather on specific formulations. The President of Russia had an excellent knowledge of all the resolution's clauses and, I repeat, up to the last moment, in virtually all the telephone conversations the focus was on the concrete language of the resolution. And it was largely thanks to that vigorous activity of the President of Russia that we got all of the principled stands Russia had been upholding reflected therein.
Question: Actually the presidents checked the test of the resolution line by line?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: On certain clauses, I can name them to you, clause 4, and clause 12, it was the exact line-by-line agreeing. Virtual editing of these clauses.
November 11, 2002