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Russian minister in China for talks on Iraq

Russia's deputy foreign minister called on Friday for an immediate halt to the fighting in Iraq and said the UN must play a "central role" in a political resolution and subsequent post-war reconstruction.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2003 20:05 IST

Russia's deputy foreign minister called on Friday for an immediate halt to the fighting in Iraq and said the United Nations must play a "central role" in a political resolution and subsequent post-war reconstruction.

"The war is getting more serious by the day, and more and more people are suffering. We call for an immediate end to fighting and a return to the search for a political resolution," Yuri Fedotov told reporters in Beijing after two days of talks with Chinese diplomats.

Both Russia and China have opposed the US-led military campaign to unseat Saddam Hussein and Fedotov said the two country's views on the issues concerning Iraq were "identical."

China has repeatedly urged an end to fighting and return to negotiations under the UN but has not publicly commented on post-war arrangements. Fedotov said Chinese officials agreed that the United Nations must play a central role and demanded the implementation of existing resolutions on Iraqi disarmament and humanitarian concerns.

"We don't know yet what conditions will be like when the fighting stops," Fedotov said. "But regardless, the United Nations must play a central role."

China's Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment on the talks. Fedotov said he held discussions with Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya and also met with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

First Published: Apr 04, 2003 20:05 IST