Bush, Putin call Iraq to disarm
The United States and Russia urged Iraq on Friday to disarm fully in accordance with a U.N. Security Council resolution or face "serious consequences".
"We call on Iraq, in strict compliance with UNSC resolution 1441, to cooperate fully and unconditionally in its disarmament obligations or face serious consequences," a joint U.S.-Russia statement said.
The statement, released as U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin met to discuss Iraq and other issues, did not specifically threaten military action.
"We call on Iraq to comply fully and immediately with this and all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, which were adopted as a necessary step to secure international peace and security," the statement said.
Putin outlined the Russian position at a joint news conference with Bush after their talks near the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
"We do believe that we have to stay within the framework of the work being carried out by the United Nations," Putin said. "We can achieve a positive result."
In their talks, Bush has assured Putin that Russia will be a major player in building a postwar Iraq, officials said, meaning Moscow would be free to pursue its debts while oil industry competes on an even playing field in Iraq with Western interests, AP reported.
During the press conference, Putin raised questions about Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which the White House insists are valuable allies in the campaign to eradicate Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
"We should not forget about those who finance terrorism," said Putin, noting that 15 of the 19 terrorists in last year's strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were from Saudi Arabia. "We should not forget about that." (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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