Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says Russia will vote against a proposed UN Security Council resolution that would open the way to war against Iraq.
Mr. Ivanov told reporters in Moscow today (Monday) the draft proposed contains impossible demands. He says if the resolution is put to a vote, Russia will vote against it.
Russia holds veto power as a permanent Security Council member, and a "no" vote from Moscow would kill any chance of the resolution's passage.
The White House says it hopes neither Russia nor France vetoes the resolution. Spokesman Ari Fleischer says that a veto would be, in his words, "more than a disappointment."
He said President Bush is phoning world leaders today (Monday) in a bid to get them to support the US and British-backed measure, which would give Iraq until next Monday (March 17th) to prove it no longer has banned weapons, or face military action.
France is leading the diplomatic efforts to defeat the resolution and give UN arms inspectors in Iraq more time. Today, both sides are focusing on three African countries currently on the Security Council -- Angola, Cameroon and Guinea -- that have not announced which way they will vote.
So far, the United States has firm backing on the resolution from Britain, Spain, and Bulgaria. France and Russia are joined by China, Germany,and Syria in calling for U-N weapons inspectors in Iraq to be give more time.
Besides the three African countries, other undecided Council members are Chile, Mexico and Pakistan.