WASHINGTON -- President Bush consulted Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the eve of an expected United Nations vote on a resolution demanding that Iraq disarm. The White House reported no commitment from Putin on the tough measure the United States seeks.
Bush's early-morning phone call to the Russian leader came amid a final diplomatic push for tough new weapons inspections, backed by threats of force if Saddam Hussein continues to skirt his disarmament obligations.
The administration expected a vote on a new U.S. draft resolution on Iraq Friday. Russia, France and China have resisted the American language.
White House spokesman Sean McCormack said "both leaders agreed on the need to reach agreement on a strong new resolution that could lead to peaceful disarmament of Iraq through cooperation with the United Nations" and international inspectors.
He reported no assurances from Putin on the matter, or whether Bush had liked what he heard.
Bush reiterated his desire to work with the United Nations on this issue and the importance of the United Nations acting by passing a strong resolution," McCormack said.
Although White House officials expect a vote Friday, but they have been careful to avoid setting an ultimatum.
"It's coming to a close and it's time for the United Nations to move forward," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan, adding that "consultations are ongoing."
Secretary of State Colin Powell said the administration remained open to revisions in its tough resolution on Iraq, but emphasized that all hard-line provisions in the draft would remain intact.
"Iraq has been a problem for years, and it is finally coming to a head," Powell said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Bush planned a news conference Thursday afternoon, breaking a silence he has kept since Tuesday's sweeping gains by Republicans. He has not taken questions from reporters in a formal setting since Oct. 26, and has not had a wide-ranging news conference since July 8. He has had brief sessions with journalists following meetings with world leaders.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.