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Friday, 1 February, 2002, 18:06 GMT
Bush seeks dialogue with 'evil' states
King Abdullah of Jordan shakes hands with President George W Bush
President Bush says US not alone in its concerns
US President George W. Bush has held out both an olive branch and the threat of tough action in his latest remarks about Iraq, North Korea and Iran on Friday.

Mr Bush said he would welcome dialogue with North Korea and Iran - despite his earlier condemnation of the two countries as being part of an "axis of evil" with Iraq.

President Bush's National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice
National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice clarified the president's position on Thursday
Speaking hours after North Korea branded him a "moral leper" on Friday, describing his State of the Union address this week as little short of a declaration of war, Mr Bush maintained his tough rhetoric.

But he stressed that if North Korea and Iran showed a clear commitment to peace, "We would be more than happy to enter into a dialogue with them."

"As I said in my (State of the Union) speech, I hope nations hear our call and make right decisions," Mr Bush told reporters at the White House during a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah.

"A wrong decision will be to continue to export weapons of mass destruction and I certainly hope that North Korea, for example, listens to what we suggested."

'On notice'

But Mr Bush said that if they failed to heed his warnings, the United States was prepared for action.

"All options are on the table as to how to make America and our allies more secure," he said.

"All the three countries I mentioned are now on notice that we intend to take their development of weapons of mass destruction very seriously."

Mr Bush also urged North Korea to withdraw some "conventional weaponry" from its border with South Korea "to make a clear declaration of their peaceful intentions on the peninsula."

The Bush administration has abandoned the strategy of "accelerated engagement" with North Korea which had been the policy under his predecessor Bill Clinton.

Mr Bush said the United States was not alone in its concerns about North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

"It's not just we. I'm talking about other nations that respect rule of law and freedom," he said.

See also:

01 Feb 02 | Americas
Nato warns US over 'evil axis'
31 Jan 02 | Middle East
Iran lashes out at Bush
26 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Kim dismisses 'rogue' status
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