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FEAR OF GLOBAL WAR DRIVES RUSSIAN SENATORS AS THEY PREPARE STATEMENT ON IRAQ
BODY: Moscow, 25 March: The council of the upper house of the Russian parliament has adopted a draft statement on the armed action against the Republic of Iraq.
Speaking after the meeting of the council, the first deputy speaker of the Federation Council, Valeriy Goreglyad, said this document would be adopted by the senators at their meeting on Wednesday 26 March after they had heard a report by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on the situation in Iraq.
The first deputy speaker said that in this document the Federation Council expresses its concern at developments.
For his part, the head of the Federation Council's international affairs committee, Mikhail Margelov, told journalists that on Wednesday the Federation Council also planned to ask the head of state, Vladimir Putin, to set up a "strategic crisis group" made up of representatives of the State Duma, the Federation Council, the government, the Russian president's administration, experts on international affairs, as well as representatives of the scientific community.
"This group is needed to formulate our country's position as regards upholding its own national interests, and not only in Iraq. Strategic stability in the region is more important to us, and Iraqi oil is not the principal factor. The main thing is to make sure this conflict does not escalate to global proportions," Margelov said.
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