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Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 07:16 GMT 08:16 UK
Bush turns to UN on Iraq
Democratic House minority leader Dick Gephardt (L), Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert (C) and President Bush (R)
Bush is stepping up his campaign for support for action
President George W Bush is reported to be considering asking for a UN Security Council resolution that would set a deadline for weapons inspections to resume in Iraq.

All these are pretexts to support his evil plans which will not serve any interests of anybody in the world, not even the US

Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri
The official White House position is that no decision has been taken on whether or not to seek a UN Security Council mandate for an attack on Saddam Hussein, but privately administration officials say a resolution is being considered.

Such a resolution could imply military action if Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein failed to comply.

Mr Bush is stepping up efforts to rally support for his campaign against Saddam Hussein and will consult world leaders in the coming week.

He has also promised to seek the approval of Congress before launching any military action against Iraq.

Congress is under pressure to vote on the issue within the next five weeks, before it adjourns for mid-term elections.

'Suitable wording'

A UN Security Council resolution would set a deadline for weapons inspectors to go back to Iraq and would imply military action if Saddam Hussein failed to comply.

Destruction of Iraqi chemical weapons
The UN could be asked to set a deadline for arms inspections
Mr Bush is contacting other leaders of the five permanent members of the Security Council to sound them out and see whether a form of words could be found that would pass muster with all of them, says the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington.

The president is to discuss Iraq on Saturday with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

US officials say they are also considering a plan for coercive inspections, where access to a site would be demanded.

If the request were denied, US forces would then attack.


On Wednesday, Mr Bush met congressional leaders for talks that he said marked the start of a wider process of consultation on his policy of "regime change" in Baghdad.

Anti-US rally in Baghdad
Iraq has tied the issue of arms to ending the UN embargo

"Saddam Hussein is a serious threat... Doing nothing about that threat is not an option for the United States," he said.

He told reporters that when he addresses the UN General Assembly on 12 September, he would lay out his case against the government in Baghdad - which Washington accuses of developing weapons of mass destruction.

"I will first remind the United Nations that for 11 long years Saddam Hussein has sidestepped, crawfished, wheedled out of any agreement he made not to develop weapons of mass destruction," he told reporters.

But Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said that Mr Bush would be able to present only "lies" to the American people and the international community to support his case for military action.

"Mr Bush cannot provide to his people one [piece of] evidence that Iraq poses a threat to US interests," he said after a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.

Reassurance sought

The BBC's Rob Watson in Washington says Congress is likely to endorse President Bush's call for military action against Saddam Hussein before polling day on 5 November.

But, he says, it will be struggle - both Republicans and Democrats want the administration to provide more evidence of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and more reassurance about what happens if and when he is removed.

Some senior US officials also say more has to be done to build a broad coalition with America's allies for action against Iraq.

"We realise that there is a lot of work that needs to be done in order to make clear what we think the purpose is, make clear what we think that the threat is," Beth Jones, US assistant secretary of state for European affairs told the BBC.

The BBC's John Sudworth
"Having made his case at home George Bush is now turning to the rest of the world"
The BBC's Paul Adams
"Military action is becoming almost inevitable"
Former UN ambassador Sir Crispin Tickell
"None of the five permanent member countries have any tenderness for Saddam Hussein"

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See also:

05 Sep 02 | Politics
05 Sep 02 | Americas
04 Sep 02 | Politics
04 Sep 02 | Middle East
03 Sep 02 | Middle East
03 Sep 02 | Politics
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