China and Russia to protect oil interests in Iraq
China and Russia are going to join forces to protect their oil interests in Iraq in case the US attacks Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, a top Russian industry official said. The official said the neighbouring states have agreed to cooperate in protection of their interests from Washington once Iraq's huge oil reserves are opened to foreign investment under any new Iraqi administration.
Russia is concerned that if Saddam is forced from power, oil development contracts signed by the Iraqi government
with Russian firms may be torn up by a future US-installed administration. Members of the Iraqi opposition, keen to
be part of any new government, have said they will review oil deals signed by Saddam.
Russia pressed hard for changes before backing last month's US-sponsored UN Security Council resolution giving Iraq a "final opportunity" to disarm or face a US threat of war.
US President George Bush said the United States fully realized that Russia and other countries had economic interests in Iraqthat should be taken into account.