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Powell Heads to Europe to Discuss War in Iraq - 2003-04-01

Secretary of State Colin Powell leaves Washington Tuesday on a three-day trip to Turkey and Belgium for talks on the war with Iraq and the post-war reconstruction of that country. It is the first overseas trip by a top Bush administration official since the war began March 20.

Mr. Powell's first stop is Ankara, where he'll try to try to repair a relationship strained by the war and the Turkish parliament's refusal to allow American troops to use Turkey for Iraq operations. The secretary told reporters he'll stress U.S. opposition to any Turkish military move into northern Iraq despite Ankara's concerns about refugee flows and Kurdish separatists.

"I want to reassure Turkish leaders that we believe that the work we are doing there now should make it unnecessary for them to consider any incursions in the region, but at the time to hear their point of view and make sure we have a common understanding," Mr. Powell said.

Mr. Powell will meet officials of both NATO and the European Union in Brussels Thursday, where the focus will be on the possible European role in post-war reconstruction and security in Iraq.