High ranking Russian and American diplomats discussed in Washington questions of the Iraqi settlement. The delegations of the two sides were headed by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov and US Assistant Secretary of State William Burns.
The meeting took place "under the influence of the results of the discussion of the Iraqi theme" at the recent Russian-American summit in Camp David, Yuri Fedotov told Russian reporters. According to him, the position of Moscow on this question, outlined by the Russian President, "produced a rather strong impression on the American side." Both sides confirmed their principled consent that "the sovereignty of Iraq must be established as soon as possible and that Iraq must be integrated into the regional and international community as soon as possible," said the Russian deputy minister.
At the same time, he said, "there are tactical differences" on this question between Moscow and Washington - this concerns in particular the timetable of the restoration of Iraq's sovereignty and the termination of occupation. "Russia believes that this timetable must be worked out by the Iraqis themselves in consultations with the provisional coalition authorities and the UN mission, and then approved by the Security Council. This timetable must be short but realistic," underscored Yury Fedotov.
According to him, Russia also stands for giving the United Nations "appreciable powers in the Iraqi settlement," first of all in the formation of a new legitimate government in accordance with the recommendations given by Kofi Annan to the Security Council.
As to the mandate of the multinational forces, which are planned to be deployed in Iraq, it must be aimed, above all, at supporting the political process in that country. "Military presence must not be an end in itself," emphasized the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister.