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Schröder and Putin reaffirm common views on Iraq


Schröder and Putin reaffirm common views on Iraq

After a one-hour meeting held in Berlin on Sunday, February 9, Chancellor Schröder and President Putin jointly advocated the continuation of UN weapons inspections in Iraq. At the present time there is no reason to use military force, Putin noted. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder met with President Vladimir Putin in Berlin on February 9. After their meeting Schröder referred to Putin as his personal friend and a friend of Germany's. Their meeting focused strongly on Iraq, but also dealt with bilateral issues in German-Russian relations, which Schröder and Putin both described as being very good.

Speaking at a joint news conference Schröder noted that he and President Putin had had a very straightforward discussion and that they were agreed on the issues at hand. He said what the foreign ministers of France, Russia, and Germany said in the UN Security Council was correct. Security Council Resolution 1441 must be the basis for any political action in the conflict with Iraq. He added that the two sides also share the view that Iraq must cooperate fully.

Schröder described reports coming from the weapons inspectors as encouraging, saying that Germany would do and provide everything it can to help the inspectors get their job done. He indicated that the system of controls and sanctions available to the inspectors should be expanded and improved wherever the latter feel it is appropriate. If Iraq is found to have weapons of mass destruction then the country should be disarmed peacefully, Schröder indicated.

President Putin said he fully supports Chancellor Schröder's statements. He noted that the efforts being undertaken to reach a peaceful settlement of the conflict with Iraq should be continued, adding that there is currently no reason to use military force against Iraq.

On the morning of February 9 President Putin joined President Johannes Rau in opening an official program of German-Russian cultural exchanges for the years 2003 and 2004.

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