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    PROBLEM OF MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPONS IN IRAQ COULD HAVE BEEN SOLVED PEACEFULLY - ACTING RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, February 26. /RIA Novosti correspondent/. Russia still does not intend to dispatch its armed forces to Iraq, confirmed acting Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov.

    "We do not see the need for this. There are many other forms of assistance to Iraq. The most important thing - and we know this from the experience of other countries - is that the Iraq problem should be solved by the Iraqi people themselves. If they need help, then various variants of rendering such assistance could be examined through the UN, the Russian diplomat said in an interview with Al-Arabia TV Channel.

    Asked how the Russian embassy in Iraq is protected, he answered that it is protected by representatives of the Iraqi security services. However, just like any other embassy, it has also a security service of its own.

    The problem of the existence of mass destruction weapons in Iraq could have been solved by political, peaceful means, noted Ivanov. In his words, the situation in Iraq and the rest of the region has been aggravated as a result of the war. "It is important now that we make such steps - and we are working on it, in particular, with the USA - as would help us remedy the situation. This is hard to do because in addition to the problems that existed before the war, new ones, no less complex, cropped up such as a threat to the territorial integrity of Iraq, renewed activity by various extremist terrorist organizations," stressed Ivanov.

    In his opinion, it is important that the international community pool efforts in order to help the Iraqi people to overcome the consequences of the war and restore stability and security.

    "We consider that this can be done only if the sovereignty of Iraq is restored and its independence and territorial integrity respected. To solve these issues, Russia is actively working both in the UN and along bilateral and multilateral channels. We hope to ensure that the sovereignty of Iraq will be restored in the near future," stated Ivanov.

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