Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov did not rule out the use of Russia's veto in the UN Security Council to prevent a war in Iraq, the BBC reported Tuesday.
"I do not rule anything out because the right of veto can be used by any permanent member of the Security Council including Russia," Ivanov told BBC Talking Point live.
"If necessary, Russia can resort to using this right," he said.
"Abstaining is not a position Russia can take, we have to take a clear position and we are for a political solution," he said, adding that those who favored a military solution were making a mistake.
Ivanov insisted that unanimity in the Security Council, rather than talk of veto-wielding, was the best way to pressure Iraqi President Saddam Hussein into disarming.
He also said Russia expected chief UN arms inspectors to make areport later this week that would provide a timetable for continued inspections.
Russia and France, both veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council, are opposed to US plans backed by Britain to disarm Iraq by force, insisting that Iraqi disarmament can be achieved by continuing and strengthening UN weapons inspections.
Backed by United States and Spain, Britain tabled a draft resolution on Iraq to the UN Security Council in New York last week, declaring that Iraq violates earlier UN resolutions and would face serious consequences.
Ivanov, who came here Tuesday for a one-day visit, is now holding talks on Iraq with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.