Russia has said it will support a Franco-German plan aimed at averting war with Iraq.
The plan reportedly calls for the tripling of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, banning Iraqi flights anywhere over the country and deploying UN peacekeepers.
"I have no doubt that Russia will adhere to it"
Sergei Ivanov, Russian Defence Minister
German Defence Minister Peter Struck said the proposal would be presented to the United Nations Security Council on Friday - the same day the chief UN weapons inspectors present their second critical report on Iraqi co-operation.
The plan seems certain to deepen a growing rift between the United States and European countries over how to ensure Iraq disarms.
Russia and France both possess the power to veto a new resolution, reportedly being drafted by the UK, which would clear the way for military action against Iraq.
Mr Struck said German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would discuss the plan with the visiting Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in Berlin on Sunday.
He said Germany "could well take part" in a UN peacekeeping force in Iraq reportedly envisaged by the plan.
The defence minister said he hoped the plan would be "taken up positively" by the Security Council next Friday.
Russia's Defence Minister, Sergei Ivanov, said on Sunday that if the plan was presented to the UN, "I have no doubt that Russia will adhere to it."
Belgium also said it was favourable to
the Franco-German plan, according to the French news agency AFP.
The BBC's Ray Furlong, who is in Berlin, says Vladimir Putin is keen to avoid a war, but at the same time wants to avoid the kind of damaging rows that Germany has had with the United States over Iraq.
The Franco-German plan might fit the bill, he says.
News of the initiative has been greeted with anger by American officials, who said Washington had not been consulted.
America has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to lead the way in disarming Iraq by force if the United Nations baulks at sanctioning military action.
Differences over how to deal with Iraq have soured relations between Germany and France and the US, which insists diplomatic attempts to disarm Iraq have failed.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell reacted to news of the Franco-German plan by saying that sending more inspectors to Iraq would be a "diversion", not a solution.
On Saturday, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned that if the international community showed a lack of resolve, "there is no chance [Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein will disarm voluntarily or flee - and thus little chance of a peaceful outcome".
But German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told Mr Rumsfeld: "I can't go to the public and say 'let's go to war because there are reasons'. I don't believe in them."
The Munich meeting also heard from Iran's deputy minister for international and legal affairs, Gholamali Koshroo - the first time Tehran has been represented at the gathering.
Mr Koshroo urged Iraq to disarm, but stressed his country's opposition to a war.
He also emphasised the need to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus, who is in Munich, says the speech - delivered in English - was measured and moderate in tone, ending with a call for the Muslim world and the West to develop a broader view of each other.
© 2003 BBC