The United Nations Security Council is holding closed-door consultations on the next steps in the arms inspection process in Iraq.
Council members are expected to discuss whether to give U-N arms inspectors more time to search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
One of the top U-N inspectors, Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said before the council meeting more time is needed to look at Iraq's nuclear program. But he said Baghdad needs to be more cooperative about all aspects of its weapons of mass destruction because the international community is running out of patience.
Next week, U-S Secretary of State Colin Powell is to present new intelligence on Iraq's weapons to the Security Council, a decision France and Russia have welcomed. But Russia's U-N ambassador, Sergey Lavrov, said Wednesday inspections must continue.
The White House repeated Wednesday that the matter is in what was termed its "final phase." Spokesman Ari Fleischer said President Bush believes the situation can be resolved peacefully, but Mr. Fleischer added that there should be no mistake that Iraq will be disarmed if it doesn't do so on its own.
Meanwhile, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz denied his country has links to al-Qaida terrorists, as President Bush alleged Tuesday night in his State of the Union address. Mr. Aziz challenged the United States to provide evidence for the charge.
In Turkey, the country's military Thursday began building up supplies near the Iraqi border in case of a possible U-S-led operation against Iraq. But military officials stressed that the build-up does not mean a war against Iraq is imminent, nor that Turkey will participate in it.