Moscow positively assesses the decision taken by Iraq to eliminate "As-Samoud-2" missiles.
On Saturday Aleksander Yakovenko, official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry stated to Russian journalists that Russia perceived that step "as an extremely significant manifestation of co-operation between Baghdad and UN." According to reports from Baghdad, on Saturday Iraq commenced elimination of 4 "As-Samoud-2" missiles. An unnamed representative of Iraqi authorities reported that missiles were destroyed on 1 March in the afternoon in the vicinity of the city of Al-Tahi, 40 km to the north of Baghdad. At the moment UN representatives did not confirm these reports.
Last week Hans Blix, UNMOVIC head, sent a letter to the Iraqi leadership in which he demanded to destroy "As-Samoud-2" missiles the range of which exceeded 150 km and their launching means by 1 March.
The Iraqi side ascertained that missiles were not equipped with warheads and guidance systems and that was the only reason for their range to exceed 150 km.
On Thursday 27 February Amir Al-Saadi, adviser to the Iraqi President sent an official response to Blix which characterized the UN demands as "unjust" but at the same time indicated that "Iraq in principle was prepared to implement UNMOVIC demands to eliminate missiles and their warheads. Baghdad took that step only to make unfounded any US arguments in favor of unleashing a war against Iraq."
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