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Russia Says UN Must Approve Any New Anti-Terrorist Operations
By Paul Tighe

London, Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Any new international anti- terrorist operations must be approved by the United Nations Security Council, the Interfax news agency cited Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov as saying.

``Any use of force must be sanctioned by the UN Security Council,'' Interfax quoted Ivanov as saying yesterday at the start of a visit to the U.K. ``For this, convincing proof must be submitted'' of the existence of terrorist structures.

The U.S.-led military operation in Afghanistan drove the ruling Taliban from power and destroyed bases of the al-Qaeda terrorist network suspected of carrying out the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

U.S. President George W. Bush has indicated the fight against terrorism will be pursued in countries that harbor terrorist groups and those that develop weapons of mass destruction.

``The forcible action in Afghanistan is legitimate and justified,'' Interfax cited Ivanov as saying. ``As far as other regions are concerned, talking about them would be too early.''

Moscow expects to be consulted by the U.S. if Washington intends widening the war against terrorism beyond Afghanistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week in an interview with the U.K.'s Financial Times newspaper.

Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are countries that have been mentioned as possible targets in the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Bush last month demanded that Iraq's President Saddam Hussein allow inspectors into the country to prove he isn't building weapons of mass destruction. Iraq rejected the demand.

An attack on Iraq shouldn't be part of the anti-terrorism war, Putin told the Financial Times.

``Primarily, we should talk about ways to block the financing of terrorist activities,'' he said. ``And so far I have no confirmation, no evidence that Iraq is financing the terrorists that we are fighting against.''

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