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Russia, China Won't Approve Force Against Iran

May 16, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today said Russia and China will not support the use of force against Iran over its nuclear program.

Lavrov made his remarks in Beijing after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing. He said Moscow and Beijing won't vote for any resolution that "is an excuse for the use of force" against Iran. He said both sides advocate dialogue to resolve the dispute.

"Neither Russia nor China, as my colleague [Li] and I confirmed today, will be able to support the language of a possible UN Security Council resolution which could be later used as a pretext for coercive action, especially the use of force," Lavrov said.

Earlier, China said it supports Europe's initiative to resolve the standoff. The statement came after the European Union said it was ready to offer Iran sophisticated civilian nuclear technology if it agreed to halt all uranium enrichment on its soil.

But Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi today reiterated it was not interested in the offer.

The EU and the United States, despite Tehran's denials, suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

(ITAR-TASS, AFP, AP, Reuters)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org



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