A $40 Billion Economic Plan in the Works for Iraq and Russia

AP News in Brief 
Published: Aug 17, 2002

MOSCOW (AP) - Iraq and Russia are close to signing a $40 billion economic cooperation plan, Iraq's ambassador says, a deal that could put Moscow at odds with the United States as it considers a military attack against Baghdad.

The statement by Ambassador Abbas Khalaf came amid indications that Russia, despite its strong support for the post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism coalition, is maintaining or improving ties with Iran and North Korea, which together with Iraq are the countries President Bush has labeled the "axis of evil."

Washington is trying to rally support for a possible invasion of Iraq, which the United States accuses of supporting terrorism and of rebuilding its banned weapons of mass destruction program, but many U.S. allies are resisting the push.

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