MOSCOW March 28 —
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called the U.S.-led
war against Iraq the most serious crisis since the end of the Cold
War and warned it threatened global stability.
The war is "in danger of rocking global stability and the
foundations of international law," Putin said during a meeting with
Russian lawmakers, segments of which were aired on Russian
He said the "only correct solution to the Iraqi problem is the
immediate end to military activity in Iraq and resumption of a
political settlement in the U.N. Security Council."
The Kremlin has been strongly critical of the U.S.-led war but
insists its disagreement with Washington will not damage
"The partnership character of relations with America will gives
us a basis for continuing our open dialogue," Putin said, according
to the Interfax news agency.
Russian officials have expressed concern that Russian interests
and companies, which have signed numerous contracts to develop
Iraq's oil industry, will be pushed out by American companies in the
war's aftermath. Baghdad also owes Russia about $8.5 billion in
Russia "has never made its position on Iraq directly dependent on
economic factors or economic advantages," Putin was quoted by
Interfax as saying. "The economy is an important part of politics
but if we make a mistake in the political assessment of the
situation, we will in the end lose out also in the economic."
Putin urged lawmakers to act pragmatically and "leave emotions on
the side" when dealing with the crisis.
|Russian President Vladimir Putin
speaks during an awards ceremony at Moscow's Kremlin Thursday,
March 27, 2003. On the three-year anniversary of his election
Wednesday, polls and political analysts suggested Putin won't
face much of a challenge if he seeks a second term next
March.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko,
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