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    TERRORISTS "EXPLORING" IRAQ

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    KRASNOYARSK, February 27, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - "Terrorists are "exploring" Iraq, which is a new territory to them," President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with students in Krasnoyarsk on Friday.

    "This is a very dangerous process, the longer it will take place, the more dangerous it will be," said the president.

    Mr Putin reiterated his position to the effect that the military campaign against Iraq had not been justified.

    "It was a mistake. There was no need for the military operation, and subsequent events proved that," said President Putin.

    When asked whether Iraqi developments posed a threat to Russia, Mr Putin answered in the negative.

    All countries involved in the Iraqi affair are beginning to realize the danger of what is going on there, noted the president. "We can see the involved countries, including the United States, make moves to reinstate the UN in Iraq. Russia will work in cooperation with all countries and organizations that want to resolve this problem," said the president.

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