#9 - JRL 7140
April 10, 2003
AMBASSADOR VERSHBOW: WE HAVE NO INTENTION OF IGNORING RUSSIA
An interview with US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow
Author: Andrei Lebedev
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
THE WHITE HOUSE APPEARS TO AGREE THAT RUSSIA AND THE UN SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN POST-WAR DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAQ. AT THE SAME TIME, CONSULTATIONS ON THAT SUBJECT ARE NOT DECISIVE YET. BOTH SIDES ARE ONLY DISCUSSING PROVISIONAL ISSUES, ECONOMIC ONES BEING LEFT FOR THE FUTURE.
The Iraq crisis showed that the role of the UN Security Council needs profound rethinking, US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow said yesterday. He said that an appropriate place for that might be the French town of Evian, where the G8 heads of state and government will meet on June 1.
Question: Mr. Vershbow, did Condoleezza Rice bring specific proposals on the issue of Russia's participation in forming Iraq's interim administration to Moscow?
Alexander Vershbow: Our talks have not yet reached a stage that would be that specific. There will be a period - six months or longer - before the interim administration controlled by the coalition will transmit the power to representatives of Iraq proper. We will try to have the UN Security Council approve of this power transmission and clear the way for performance of UN specialized institutions - for humanitarian aid and others. The final role of the UN is to be determined yet.
Question: The Duma's "main diplomat" Dmitry Rogozin again confirmed that Russia believed it unacceptable to use the UN only as a screen for coalition actions - but this is approximately what proceeds from your words...
Alexander Vershbow: The United Nations can make a significant contribution to the reconstruction of Iraq, and we do not view this issues as part of political bargaining. President Bush has just said that the role of the UN is "vitally important." The potential of this organization just should be used in those areas where it has real chances and experience. Besides, we consider it necessary to restore the role of the Security Council after the hard period that befell it.
Question: Mr. Vershbow, you claimed that the White House did not support the amendment passed by the us House of Representatives suggesting prevention of the participation of France, Germany, Syria, and Russia in those contracts that would be concluded in Iraq after the end of the military action. What will the president do if that amendment comes into effect?
Alexander Vershbow: First, both houses of Congress have to approve it. Then the president can impose a veto on it, but it is too early to speak about that so far.
Similar legislative decisions - like the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment - are most frequently passed as amendments to bills that are more general, for example, on budget allocations. The amendment of Congressman Mark Kennedy was made to the bill on additional funding for the allies' military operation in Iraq in the year running. It is clear that the White House will not veto this document. However, speaking at Echo of Moscow radio station yesterday, Ambassador Vershbow emphasized that the Bush administration did not support Kennedy's amendment. No similar amendment was introduced in the Senate, which means that the two houses have to set up a conciliation commission concerning this. Also, Izvestia managed to found out that the US Department of State considered chances that Kennedy's amendment would hold out minimal.
Question: In the course of the visit of Condoleezza Rice to Moscow the matter was about Russia's possible participation in the post-war reorganization of Iraq in two aspects - on a state level and along the private business line...
Alexander Vershbow: Rice discussed the entire scope of possible cooperation - humanitarian aid, political and economic aspects of the reconstruction of Iraq. We have sufficiently detailed plans, but formerly they are not adopted yet, so we believe that, having interests in that country, Russia should participate in discussing the abovementioned topic. The interim administration of Iraq that will be formed after the end of the operation should represent the people of Iraq; the allies will participate in forming it and it also should involve the UN and leading world powers, including Russia. As for issues concerning participation of private companies in various projects, investments in the Iraqi economy, they will be decided on later, all in turn.
(Translated by P. Pikhnovsky)