On the eve of a possible U.N. vote on Iraq, President Bush called Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a bid to win Moscow's support. Russia has voiced some concerns about the wording of an American draft resolution that is before the Security Council.
The White House will not say if Mr. Bush won any assurances from the Russian leader. But officials stress they did agree on the need for a strong U.N. resolution on Iraq.
National Security Council Spokesman Sean McCormick describes the call as part of consultations. He says both men spoke of the need to reach agreement on a strong resolution that can lead to the peaceful disarmament of Iraq through cooperation with U.N. and international inspectors.
Mr. McCormack was then asked if the White House still expects a Security Council vote Friday on a new American draft resolution on Iraq. He said the Bush administration is still looking toward a Friday vote, but noted discussions continue.
Overall, White House officials are choosing their words carefully, emphasizing the importance of Security Council action, while avoiding the appearance of setting an ultimatum. They say the current resolution meets their goals, and takes into account the views of other council members. While not pushing a specific time for a vote, they say the end is near, and it is time for the U.N. to move forward.