Bush, Putin discuss Iraq; Report: Pentagon plans strike in February
President Bush on Friday pressed a campaign to swing Russia behind the tough American stance against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Bush met at the White House with Russia's foreign and defense ministers.
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency as saying Moscow's position would depend on the intelligence the U.S. provides about Baghdad's possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Before this meeting in Washington, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Bush in a telephone conversation that he supported the return of weapons inspectors as soon as possible to Iraq.
A Kremlin aide said Bush and Putin focused on Baghdad's recent move to allow UN inspectors back into Iraq for the first time since 1998.
Meanwhile, American war planners are focusing on February as the best time to launch an attack against Iraq and would count on defecting Iraqi units to topple Saddam Hussein. Friday's edition of the Washington Times newspaper quoted unnamed top defense officials as saying the planners would also seek to design a build-up of forces that would take weeks to assemble. (Albawaba.com)
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