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    RUSSIAN SENATOR APPLAUDS IRAQ CONSTITUTION

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    MOSCOW, March 9th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the international affairs committee of the Federation Council (upper house) and President of the Russian society for solidarity with Asian and African people, sees the adoption of Iraq's provisional constitution as a step forward towards peaceful post-war settlement.

    "This step graphically testifies that differences between various ethnic and religious groups of the republic can be settled," he said to RIA Novosti.

    Although the provisional constitution has its drawbacks and will seriously differ from the permanent constitution, "it will lay a solid basis" for the future constitution, said Margelov.

    This is "the first real step towards transferring power from the occupation forces to the Iraqi people," he said.

    However, according to Margelov, the final establishment of peace in the republic is still a distant prospect: far from everybody is happy with the adopted constitution and the launched civil and legal restoration of Iraq.

    "The explosions in Kerbel and Baghdad that preceded the adoption of the constitution as well as the wave of terrorist acts that swept the country afterwards show that there are still many supporters of the chaos and terror and that far from all hail the adoption of the country's Fundamental Law," said Margelov.

    But the very fact already indicates that stabilisation in the republic cannot be stopped, the senator believes. He expressed the hope that "the adopted constitution will guarantee peace and stability in the republic."

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