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Iraq: Rumsfeld Visits Hussein's Hometown Of Tikrit

Tikrit, Iraq; 5 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited U.S. military units in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit today. The commander of U.S. troops in Tikrit, Major General Gray Odierno, said he thinks that Hussein probably is hiding in the area.

Rumsfeld met with Odierno in Tikrit. He also spent two hours with troops at their base in one of Hussein's palaces north of Tikrit.

In a speech, Rumsfeld spoke to U.S. troops, thanking them for bringing freedom to Iraq. He warned them, however, of more hardships ahead.

Afterward, he traveled to Mosul where local officials asked him for help in increasing supplies of diesel fuel and in privatizing local businesses.

Rumsfeld arrived in Iraq yesterday on an unannounced visit to assess the security situation.

Meanwhile in Uzbekistan, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said a proposed U.S.-drafted, UN Security Council resolution on Iraq meets some of the requirements for Russian approval.

Speaking today in Tashkent, where he is attending a regional meeting, Ivanov, however, positioned Russia alongside France and Germany in saying the draft needs revision.

In Berlin today, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's chief spokesman, Bela Anda, called the U.S. effort "a rough draft" that does not cover all the elements Germany wants. Germany holds a rotating seat on the council.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, also in Tashkent, said the situation in Iraq needs to be returned to the framework of the UN.

The Security Council meets later today to discuss the draft, which primarily seeks a UN-approved multinational force in Iraq, but limits the UN role. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says he would welcome suggestions on revising the draft.