Friday, February 25, 2005

Bush, Putin Agree More on Iran, North Korea Than on Democracy

U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin found more common ground discussing Iran and North Korea than when talk turned to Putin's own country. ...

On Iran, Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder won Bush's promise to consider dropping his opposition to using economic incentives to encourage the Muslim nation to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

``I was listening very carefully to the different ideas on negotiating strategies,'' Bush said yesterday, the day after his talks with Schroeder in Mainz. ``And I'm going to go back and think about the suggestions I've heard and the ways forward.''

Iran's Nuclear Program

Putin privately assured Bush in Bratislava that Russia will provide Iran no further assistance on its nuclear power plant until Iran agrees to return all spent fuel rods -- which could be used to develop weapons-grade plutonium -- to Russia, a U.S. government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters. ...