Russia Assures U.S. No Warning Given to Saddam on Plans to Attack Iraq

Russia has given the United States written assurance that it did not provide Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein with information on U.S. plans to invade Iraq in 2003, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, the AFP news agency reported.

The chief U.S. diplomat, testifying before Congress, said that her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had given her a Russian government letter at a meeting last week in Berlin of the five veto-wielding UN Security Council members on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.

According to the letter, “the Russian government does not believe that contact took place” between Saddam Hussein and the Russian ambassador to Baghdad at the time, Vladimir Titorenko, she said.

Lavrov “told me that he believes that any such contact would have been highly inappropriate for an ambassador of Russia,” she added.

“Of course, we will continue to look into the matter,” she told lawmakers, saying the U.S. administration was trying to verify the authenticity of documents which indicate Moscow tipped off the Iraqi dictator about U.S. plans for the March 20, 2003 invasion.

A U.S. military report published last month said documents had been found in Iraq which indicated such an information leak.

The Russian government has repeatedly denied the allegations