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Iraq: U.S. Asks Turkey For Agreement On Troop Deployment

Ankara, 19 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The United States told Turkey today that it needs an agreement soon on deploying U.S. troops to Turkey for a possible attack on Iraq. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson said after talks at Turkey's Foreign Ministry that "time is critical." He said that "both sides are working hard to reach a solution."

Yesterday, Turkey said a second UN resolution is required before it will permit U.S. troops to use its bases to attack neighboring Iraq. The United States is offering Turkey a $26 billion aid package in exchange for help in any possible war with Iraq.

In Brussels today, NATO's Defense Planning Committee agreed to send AWACS radar planes, Patriot missiles, and chemical-biological-response units as requested by Turkey, the only member of the 19-nation alliance to share a border with Iraq. France, which opposed prewar NATO planning for Turkey, is not a member of the committee.