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    MOSCOW AGAINST TABLING AT UN SECURITY COUNCIL MATTER OF OIL-FOR-FOOD CORRUPTION

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    BERLIN, APRIL 1. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- Russia thinks unnecessary tabling at the United Nations Security Council the question of possible instances of corruption within the framework of the oil-for-food programme, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists on Thursday.

    "Yes, corruption is to be fought against. If facts are at hand, they are to be looked into. But without excessive politisation and tabling the question to the United Nations Security Council. In our opinion, that would be unnecessary", Lavrov said.

    "Such an examination should not be something sensational. It will only make tense the Security Council atmosphere at a time when we need unity, when all members of the Security Council want restoration of the sovereignty of Iraq and all problems settles", he added.

    Several months ago the Iraqi newspaper Al-Madah carried a list with 270 names of foreigners allegedly getting in 1999 batches of oil as commission for doing certain services for Baghdad.

    The list cites names and companies from Egypt, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Austria, Italy, France, China, Russia and some other countries.

    The other day UN Secretary General Kofi Annan declared setting up an independent commission to look into the alleged offences.

    "The most important thing now is not to rummage in the past but concentrate the efforts on how to take Iraq out from the crisis", Lavrov said.

    "If the UN Secretary General has decided on an examination, it is his own decision: he is duty-bound to combat corruption in his organisation. But, for some reason this initiative has assumed a loud political tone", Lavrov said. At the present moment, this can only stand in the way of resolving the problems of Iraq, he said.

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