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    PUTIN AND POWELL DISCUSS IRAQ'S RECONSTRUCTION PROBLEM

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    MOSCOW, January 26, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - In the course of the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin the Iraqi issue was discussed in the context of the country's reconstruction, formation of the democratic system of government, provision of international aid to Iraqi citizens and reduction of debts, US Secretary of State Colin Powell disclosed to journalists on Monday in Moscow.

    "The issues concerning the weapons of mass destruction were not discussed," he stressed.

    "Some military personnel, who had been involved in the search of the weapons of mass destruction, were transformed to another work, after the task was achieved," Mr. Colin Powell said answering a Russian journalist's question.

    According to him, before the war in Iraq "Americans believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and he had used it already." Therefore, Washington decided that the civil society couldn't live with that threat just like the previous 12 years, Mr. Powell noted.

    According to the US Secretary of State, the UN inspectors will continue their work in Iraq under the new directorship.

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