A senior Iraqi official says his country will not rule out military strikes against Turkey or Kuwait, in the event of a U.S.-led attack. The official's comments appeared in a Moscow newspaper Wednesday.

War is war, said Iraq's Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan, when asked by a reporter for the daily newspaper Vremya Novostei how Baghdad might react to a U.S.-led attack.

Mr. Ramadan said Iraq has every right to defend itself by any means.

He also said anyone who helped the Americans would be considered their accomplice.

Russia, one of five permanent members with veto power in the U.N. Security Council, is intensifying its efforts to resolve the Iraq stand-off through diplomatic, rather than military means.

President Putin hosted German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for their second round of talks in a month Wednesday. The two countries, along with France, are leading efforts to avert war.