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Powell in Moscow to Mend Relations Over Iraq - 2003-05-15

U.S. Secretary Of State Colin Powell has arrived in Berlin on what U.S. officials say is a visit aimed at repairing bilateral ties damaged by German opposition to the war in Iraq. Mr. Powell started the day in Russia where he said the United States remains concerned that Iran’s nuclear program could be used to develop weapons. VOA TV’s Jim Bertel reports.

Secretary Powell told a Moscow radio audience that Washington has no plans to take military action to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

“We don’t need any more weapons of mass destruction especially nuclear weapons in this part of the world. But it is not a matter for the armed forces of the United States at the moment.”

The United States has been pressing Russia to end its support for Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes.

Mr. Powell believes Russian leaders share U.S. concerns over Iran’s nuclear activity, adding that Washington will work with the international community in trying to convince Tehran not to develop nuclear weapons.

Mr. Powell was in Moscow working to mend the rift between the two countries over Iraq. While they did not settle their differences over lifting U.N. sanctions on Baghdad, Secretary Powell says the 2 nations continue to be strong partners.

"We are partners, we are working together. We are 2 democracies that have different points of views on different issues, we will debate those points of view, but I think we have so much in common that it should be clear to all Americans and all Russians that the United States and Russia are friends and partners."

Following the interview, Mr. Powell flew to Sofia for talks with Bulgarian leaders. Bulgaria was a staunch supporter of the U.S. led war in Iraq, providing a Black Sea air base for use by U.S. forces.