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State Duma Proposes Holding Emergency Session of UN General Assembly - 20 March, 2003

On Thursday, the State Duma took as the basis the draft statement which suggests that the UN General Assembly convene an emergency session to discuss the situation around Iraq.

266 parliamentarians voted for the decision and 101 were against it. No one abstained.

The document will be finally adopted on Friday, March 21st, after Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov delivers a speech at a State Duma plenary session.

In the draft statement, On the Launch of Military Action by the US and Great Britain against the Republic of Iraq, parliamentarians call on the Russian leadership "to initiate the holding of an emergency session of the UN General Assembly to discuss the aggression of the US, Great Britain and their allies against the Republic of Iraq, a sovereign state and a United Nations member." The State Duma also urges UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the UN Security Council "to voice an immediate reaction of principle to the use of force by the US, Great Britain and their allies and do everything possible to settle the situation around Iraq by peaceful means." The document stresses that the State Duma "supports the efforts of the leadership of the Russian Federation aimed at political and diplomatic settlement of the situation around the Republic of Iraq." "The potential for settling the Iraq crisis peacefully has not been exhausted. In particular, this was confirmed by the successful course of cooperation of late between the Republic of Iraq and the UN," the State Duma deputies say.

The launch of military action against Iraq "undermines the system of international relations and institutions and poses a threat to international stability," the statement stresses.

The State Duma also "calls on parliaments of the world to favour political and diplomatic settlement of the situation around the Republic of Iraq and support the UN efforts in this direction."

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