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    IRAQ WMDs ISSUE NEEDS TO BE CLARIFIED

    MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia believes that the search for WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) in Iraq should be continued, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told journalists in Moscow.

    "Our countries and the international community want to know for sure whether Iraq has WMDs or not," he said. "This issue cannot be considered closed." According to the Russian foreign minister, international weapons inspectors who are currently looking for WMDs in Iraq should continue their searches together with international structures that were set up by the UN.

    "This issue has nothing to do with trust or distrust in the US and special services, but with the practical goal of preventing WMDs from falling into the hands of terrorists," Ivanov said when asked whether Washington's failure to find WMDs in Iraq had undermined the international community's trust in the United States.

    "Both Russia and the US are interested in barring WMDs proliferation. This is our principled and unanimous position," stressed the minister.

    In his words, Moscow "is open for co-operation with the United States" both in the fight against terrorism and in WMDs non-proliferation. This is the goal both Russia and the US pursue, i.e. to build a secure world, said the Russian foreign minister.

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