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March 31, 2003
 
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(AP Photo)
Powell Heading to Turkey for Talks on War
Secretary of State Powell Heading to Turkey, Belgium for Talks on Iraq War and Reconstruction

The Associated Press


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WASHINGTON March 31

Secretary of State Colin Powell will travel to Turkey and to Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday for talks on the war with Iraq and postwar reconstruction of the country.

"It's a critical moment" in the war with Iraq and in planning for its aftermath, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Powell wants to work with Turkish officials on plotting a representative government in Baghdad after the removal of President Saddam Hussein's regime, Boucher said.

As for the European allies, Boucher said it was not a fence-mending mission. "We have allies with different views. We will be talking about that," he said.

France and Germany opposed the decision to go to war to disarm Iraq. Powell will hold his talks in Ankara, Turkey, on Wednesday. On the agenda is the U.S.-led coalition's war strategy.

Turkey is permitting use of its air space for combat aircraft, but has rejected a U.S. request to allow ground troops to invade northern Iraq from Turkish territory.

In Brussels on Thursday, Powell is expected to meet with both NATO and European Union officials, with the emphasis on postwar reconstruction, said a senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

On both fronts, the administration has encountered strains. Turkey banned the use of its territory for an invasion of Northern Iraq, forgoing a $6 billion special aid package.

But President Bush is asking Congress for $1 billion in special aid to Turkey to help cushion the economic impact of the war.

The Europeans, meanwhile, have split over the military operation, with key allies France and Germany refusing to back the United States. Powell's trip provides an opportunity to try to repair relations.

But in a jab at the Europeans, Bush's national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, told the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby on Monday that if the United States had not stood for its principles in the past, "we would still be living in darkness" an apparent reference to U.S. intervention in European wars.


photo credit and caption:
Secretary of State Colin Powell addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Annual Policy Conference in Washington, Sunday, March 30, 2003. Powell demanded that Iran halt its quest for weapons of mass destruction and that Syria cease its support of terrorism. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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