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Bush, Putin Agree Iraq Must Cooperate With U-N - 2002-11-22


The United States and Russia are urging Iraq to comply fully and unconditionally with a U-N disarmament resolution -- or face serious consequences.

President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin made the call in a joint news conference after their talks (Friday) in Saint Petersburg.

Mr. Putin also said the United States should not act alone against Iraq, but should consult with its allies and other members of the U-N Security Council before taking any further measures.

Mr. Bush went to Russia after attending a NATO summit in Prague that invited seven central and eastern European nations to join the military alliance in 2004. Mr. Bush told Mr. Putin that NATO enlargement does not threaten Russia. Mr. Putin said Russia still believes NATO's expansion is unnecessary, but it is prepared to intensify its cooperation with the Atlantic alliance.

In Prague, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson also stressed the importance of close relations between the alliance and Russia. In addition, he called for stronger NATO ties with former Soviet republics in Central Asia -- nations that played key roles in U-S-led anti-terrorist operations in Afghanistan.

President Bush is now in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, to meet Saturday with the presidents of the three Baltic states. Russia is particularly sensitive about NATO membership for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Mr. Bush is also scheduled to visit Romania before returning to Washington late Saturday. The three other countries just invited to join NATO are Bulgaria, Slovakia and Slovenia.

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