PUSHKIN, Russia (AP) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin warned President Bush Friday that the United States should not wage war against Iraq on its own and suggested more needs to be done first in the fight against terrorism.
"We do believe that we have to stay within the framework of the work being carried out within the United Nations," Putin said.
Putin, at a joint news conference with Bush, suggested there is more work to be done in the war on terrorism before confronting Iraq.
"Where has Osama bin Laden taken refuge?" Putin said. He also pointed out that 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001 came from Saudi Arabia, and said the international community needs to keep an eye on Pakistan to make sure it is not supporting terrorists or pursuing new weapons of mass destruction.
Putin said Russia agrees with United States that it is important to "make sure that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction in its possession." But he added that "we do believe that we have to stay within the framework of the work being carried out within the United Nations."
Bush came here from a historic NATO summit in Prague one day after the alliance agreed to expand its membership into the territory of the former Soviet Union, adding seven former communist countries.
Putin said Russia did not believe the expansion was necessary, but hoped to have strong relations with all NATO countries nevertheless.
After private talks at the golden-domed Catherine's Palace, Bush sought to assure Putin that Russia has nothing to fear from NATO.
"The mood of the NATO countries is this: Russia is our friend," Bush said. "We've got a lot of interests together. We must continue our cooperation in the war against terror."
Bush said the United States is committed to working with Moscow on trade, commerce energy and other matters. Putin said terrorism was another area where Bush could count on cooperation.
"Let me assure you we will work together and our work will be effective," the Russian leader said.
He said Russia agrees with the United States that it is important to "make sure that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction in its possession." But, he said, the United States must stay within the guidelines set out by the United Nations.
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