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Russia Talks on Mid-East and Nuclear Weapons - 2003-05-14


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is meeting with Russian officials in Moscow for talks on post-war Iraq and Middle East peace efforts. Following Wednesday’s meeting Secretary Powell said Russia and the United States have not yet settled their differences over U.N. sanctions against Iraq. George Dwyer reports.

Mr. Powell told reporters in Moscow Wednesday that the two nations will work closely in the days ahead to try to reach an agreement on lifting the sanctions. Russia has said U.N. weapons inspectors must certify that Iraq is free of weapons of mass destruction before the sanctions can be removed.

Mr. Powell's comments came after he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

(RUSSIAN) IGOR IVANOV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
"Despite differences that emerged and may emerge, in connection with the Iraqi crisis, our foreign policies are aimed at long-standing and predictable partnership with the United States."

The U.S. resolution for the removal of sanctions will be debated during the United Nations Security Council meeting Thursday.

Meanwhile, Russia's lower house of parliament approved a landmark nuclear arms control treaty with the United States.

Secretary Powell said the U.S. is pleased that the treaty was ratified.

COLIN POWELL, US SECRETARY OF STATE
"Not only does it reduce our nuclear weapons, it also shows how the United States and Russia can work together in areas of mutual interest."

President Bush and Russian President Putin signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty in May of last year. The U.S. Senate has already ratified it.

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