The leaders of Russia and Germany held talks in Moscow late Wednesday and confirmed their opposition to a draft United Nations resolution that could pave the way for war with Iraq. In his first public comments on the resolution since it was put before the Security Council earlier this week, President Putin said Russia is ready to talk to its U.N. colleagues, but not to fight.
He also said Russia believes the draft is, in his words, a bad solution.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder took a similar line with reporters. Mr. Schroeder said Germany still believes the stand-off with Iraq can be resolved peacefully. But he says the outcome depends greatly on Iraq.
Both leaders again urged Baghdad to cooperate with all U.N. demands.
Germany, which currently chairs the U.N. Security Council, has worked closely with France and Russia to avert military action, favoring an expanded weapons inspection process instead.
Separately, President Putin agreed to a German request to allow German military convoys to transit through Russian territory on their way to peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan.