Putin Calls again for Immediate End to Iraq War

Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated his call Friday for an immediate end to the US-led war against Iraq, Russian news agencies reported.

"The only right solution to the Iraq issue is the immediate termination of armed activities and the resumption of a political settlement within the framework of the UN Security Council," Putintold leaders of political parties in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

This is the first time since the end of the Cold War that the international community has faced "such a grave crisis and an actual danger of eroding the fundamentals of global stability and international law," he was quoted as saying.

"The war is spilling beyond the frame of a local conflict, " Putin warned, adding that the prime task for the international community now is "to prevent the looming humanitarian disaster in Iraq."

The president vowed to continue an open dialogue with the United States in a bid to resolve the Iraq issue.

Putin admitted that Russia has economic interests in Iraq. However, he said: "We have never made our position on Iraq directly conditional upon economic factors or economic profit. Theeconomy is an important component of politics, but if we make mistakes in the political assessment of the situation, we will eventually also lose out in the economy."

Russia has repeatedly expressed its strong opposition to the US-led war against Iraq.

People's Daily Online --- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/