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Russia: Settle war politically

Ivanov
Ivanov addressing Russia's parliament in Moscow Wednesday

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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Russia's foreign minister has reiterated his country's desire for a "political settlement" of the war in Iraq -- and said attempts to impose a political system on a sovereign country were "doomed to failure."

"The sooner we stop this war, the sooner we sit at the negotiation table in the U.N. Security Council, the faster we'll be able to solve the problems that are of concern," Igor Ivanov told CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty in an exclusive interview.

Ivanov said the main problem of concern to both Washington and Russia is weapons of mass destruction.

Earlier Wednesday, Ivanov spoke to members of Russia's parliament and warned against efforts to impose a political system on a sovereign country like Iraq.

"It is becoming increasingly evident, even now, just how far from reality the attempts are to present the war against Iraq as a triumphant campaign to liberate the Iraqi people with minimum casualties and damages," he said.

During his interview with CNN, Ivanov addressed U.S. allegations that Russia sold sensitive military equipment to Iraq, including goggles, anti-tank missiles and global positioning system jammers.

The United States, starting last October, has repeatedly raised this issue, prompting Russian President Vladimir Putin to order authorities to "very seriously and thoroughly" study documentation provided by the United States, Ivanov said.

Authorities found that no equipment -- military or otherwise -- was shipped to Iraq by Russia in violation of sanctions on Baghdad, Ivanov said.

Additional material provided by the United States "the day before yesterday" will also be studied, and if it turns out someone acted in violation of sanctions, then that party would be punished according to Russian law, Ivanov said.

The Interfax news agency quoted Ivanov as saying that if the anti-Iraq coalition finds weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, only international inspectors can determine the weapons' origin.


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