Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Russia’s Putin, Bush Discuss North Korea Missile Program, Iran

U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone and agreed to close ranks on Iran and North Korea, a White House official said.

The presidents agreed on the importance of remaining united in their efforts to press Iran to suspend all enrichment activities and begin negotiations on the incentive package,” the official is quoted by AFP news agency. READ MORE

According to Associated Press, the two leaders also discussed North Korea’s plans to test a long-range missile that could carry a small payload as far as the U.S.

The United States and its partners, Britain, France, Germany as well as Russia and China, have made Iran’s suspension of uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities a condition for talks on Tehran’s atomic program. Iran, which denies U.S. allegations that it seeks nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic program, said Monday that it was preparing a counter-offer as officials rejected that key stipulation.

The United States had warned North Korea against a missile launch and engaged in intense consultations at the UN Security Council Monday. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has already called the possible missile test a “provocative act”. Reports that the Stalinist country is moving toward a launch of its Taepodong 2 missile have caused concern across East Asia and the Pacific.