Washington works on postwar plans while Putin sees no reason to attack Iraq
The Bush administration is working on postwar plans for Iraq that could involve foreign military control of the country if President Saddam's regime is overthrown, officials said Friday.
For an undetermined period of time, U.S. or other military commanders would be responsible for maintaining stability and overseeing transition efforts to move the country toward a democratic government, two military officials said, according to AP.
Among a range of proposals being developed is a postwar military occupation force that might be anything from a U.S. force, to one run by whatever coalition joins in a war against Iraq, to one devised by the United Nations, they said.
The plan is being developed by a number of U.S. government agencies.
One plan being considered by the White House is based on the occupation of Japan following World War II and includes installing a U.S. commander to administer Iraq, perhaps U.S. Central Command head Gen. Tommy Franks, The New York Times said in its Friday edition.
Two officials said later Friday that such a plan is among the least likely to be approved of those being considered.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair after hours of talks that he thought a deal could be struck over a tough new UN resolution on Iraq.
Putin for the first time admitted that previous inspections by UN teams for weapons for mass destruction in Iraq had gone wrong, AFP reported. "You need to take into account the negative experience of the work of previous inspectors in Iraq," Putin told reporters Friday.
"We are ready together with our partners to search for ways to ensure the work of inspectors in Iraq. "With this aim in mind, I do not rule out reaching a joint position (on the Iraqi issue), including a UN resolution," he added.
Putin also called for the quick return of weapons inspectors and noted that Moscow didn't believe a new resolution governing their work was necessary.
"We believe there is no formal, legal necessity to make any decisions by the Security Council," Putin said.
Putin added that so far Moscow had no confirmation of a reason to go to war. "Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data which would support the existence of nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received from our partners such information as yet," he said.
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