Source Pravda.Ru

Russian Foreign Ministry: Russia has no plans to send its peacekeepers to Iraq

Russia has no plans to send its peacekeepers to Iraq, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti.

"We have no plans to send a Russian peacekeeping force to Iraq. This is our position, and should the need arise, we will state it again," Yakovenko said.

According to him, peacekeeping is among the issues to be discussed "in the general context" at the forthcoming talks between the Russian and Iraqi Foreign Ministers.

"Our position on this issue is well-known and we do not expect any changes in it," Alexander Yakovenko said.

On his arrival in Moscow Saturday morning, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said that Baghdad needed Russian peacekeepers in Iraq.

The Chairman of the State Duma Foreign Relations Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, also made a comment on the above statement. In a live interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station, he said that Moscow may send its peacekeepers to Iraq, but only on certain conditions.

"At first we need to fully understand the nature of the mandate and the tasks assigned to our peacekeepers there as well as how feasible their mission to establish law and order in the country will actually be," Kosachev said.

"When these issues are clarified, I assume that a Russian peacekeeping force might be sent in," he added.

Kosachev pointed out, however, that "in his opinion, it is premature for Russia to get itself involved into the current mess there and correct others' mistakes at the expense of Russian peacekeepers' lives or health."