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Russia: New resolution not needed

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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- As the United States begins a new diplomatic effort in Europe to press its case against Baghdad, Russia says there is currently no need for a second U.N. Security Council resolution on Iraq.

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"Further U.N. Security Council steps on Iraq will depend on the nature of the reports UNMOVIC (United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission) and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) chiefs Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei will deliver at the Security Council after their visit to Baghdad this weekend," Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov told Russian news agency Interfax on Friday.

U.N. Resolution 1441, adopted by the Security Council last November, calls on Iraq to disarm itself of chemical, nuclear and biological weapons.

The Security Council has warned that Iraq will "face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations."

While the United States has insisted that Baghdad is in material breach of 1441 and has said Iraq has only a matter of weeks to meet its obligations under the resolution, fellow Security Council members China, France and Russia have said U.N. weapons inspectors should be given more time to complete their job.

U.S. President Bush said January 31 he would welcome a second U.N. resolution on Iraq if it served to reinforce the message that the international community is determined to disarm the country's regime.

"It would be welcomed if it is yet another signal that we are intent upon disarming Saddam Hussein," Bush said after meeting at the White House with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Blair believes a second U.N. resolution will help garner more international support for a military strike on Iraq.

U.N. chief weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei are scheduled to arrive in Baghdad Saturday to solicit more cooperation from the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

A senior U.N. official has said, by the time Blix arrives in Baghdad on Saturday, he expects three key inspection issues to be resolved, including interviews of Iraqi scientists and the use of U-2 spy planes. The third issue is Iraq's enforcement of legislation prohibiting companies from making weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Italy on Friday to begin a series of meetings with European officials. (Full story)

He will then fly to Munich where he will address with European security officials and plans talks with the Russian and German defense ministers.

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