Russia warns Japan over US attack support

TOKYO, Dec 18 (South News) - Russian ambassador to Japan Alexander Panov today called the differences in positions taken by Russia and Japan on the United States (U.S) - british air strikes on Iraq "unfortunate" and warned of possible repercussions of Tokyo's support for the military attack.

Japanese students from the Peace Boat in Bombay, IndiaPanov told reporters at the National Press Club of Japan that the bombings, which Russia strongly protested, could trigger a wave of terrorist attacks and undermine the authority of the United Nations Security Council, to which Japan seeks permanent membership.

"This is a blow to the world order," Panov said. He said the attacks set a "dangerous precedent" and violate international law, since the security council did not authorize them.

He also accused the United States of ignoring the council and seeking to accomplish its goals "through actions based on unilateral decisions." The U.S, backed by Britain, launched air strikes on Iraq without warning early Wednesday after Baghdad rejected U.N. arms inspections.

"The positions taken by Russia and Japan on international issues are close or similar. Unfortunately, the bombing of Iraq is an exception. I would like to think so," Panov said.

Citing the direct and indirect dangers that could result from the attacks, panov said, "the activation of terrorist activities against countries which participated or supported the bombings is to be expected."

Russia's State Duma, the lower house of parliament, passed almost unanimously a resolution accusing the United States and Britain of a "barbarous'' act undertaken in defiance of the United Nations.

The Duma which had earlier held a minute's silence for the Iraqi dead said "These activities constitute international terrorism.''

President Boris Yeltsin said the strikes, to punish Baghdad for obstructing U.N. arms inspections, "crudely violated'' the United Nations charter and should be halted immediately.

"It is outrageous that the strike was launched at the very moment when the (U.N.) Security Council was still discussing this issue,'' Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov told his cabinet. ''This action lies fully on the conscience of the Americans.''