Washington, 21 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is denying a media report that the United States plans to have a long-term military presence in Iraq. A reporter asked Rumsfeld today about a story yesterday in "The New York Times" saying Washington wants to use this presence to bring U.S. influence to the region.
Rumsfeld noted that the article attributed the information to senior officials of the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. He said the source of the story was neither himself nor other leaders in the Defense Department.
The secretary said these officials have not even begun to discuss among themselves how long U.S. forces might stay.