US President George W. Bush on Friday discussed how to deal with the threat posed by Iraq with the leaders of China, Russia and France, the White House said.
"The president began his day today with three phone calls to world leaders," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters at a regular press briefing. Bush spoke with Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Jacques Chirac, he said.
"The president, in each of his conversations, said he was calling because he wanted to make sure that the United States was consulting with our allies around the world. And he told these leaders that he valued their opinions," Fleischer said.
"The president stressed that Saddam Hussein is a threat and that the United States was going to work together with the world to make the world more peaceful, and we welcome their role and their involvement," he said.
Bush noted to each of the three leaders that he has not made any decision about the next course of action to take, Fleischer said.
All three countries have opposed US moves toward a military attack on Iraq.
The US president also informed each of the three leaders with whom he spoke that following his speech at the United Nations next week, the United States will send a group of American officials to each of their nation's capitals to consult further with its allies, Fleischer added.
Bush is scheduled to meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair Saturday at the presidential retreat Camp David.
A White House official said earlier Thursday that it was the beginning of the process that the president outlined on Wednesday to consult with friends and allies on how to remove the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his relentless acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.